For Wexford native Sophie Becker 2022 has seen her break new ground. The New Ross sprinter who now competes for Raheny Shamrocks AC in Dublin is in the form of her life as she prepares to run in the individual 400m heats tomorrow.
Becker will be looking to back up a strong performance which saw the Mixed 4x400m Relay Team make the world final on Day One of the Championships.
A member of the Dublin Sprint group where she is coached by Jeremy Lyons and Ger O’Donnell, Becker ran a PB of 51.83s back in May in Oordegem, Belgium and is hoping that she will be able to replicate this feat tomorrow.
“I think I’m very well capable of running a PB for myself in my individual. I’d be disappointed if I didn’t come out of here with a PB,” she says. “A PB would hopefully get me into a semi-final then.”
Becker attributes her fantastic form this season to her confidence which she believes has “bloomed” this year. For some time, she has been working with sports psychologist and Olympian Jessie Barr. Her performance to win gold at last months National Senior Track and Field Championships following a titanic battle with Phil Healy showcased her mental and physical strength in the latter stages of races.
“I just feel really comfortable when I’m racing and in the race setup. I’m just confident in my own ability and I think a lot of that is the last years working with Jessie working on my race mentality and everything like that.”
Before travelling to Eugene, Becker spent several days at the McKenzie River Resort where the Irish team held their pre-championships camp. She has had a relaxed build-up.
“I suppose the last ten days just been more of a taper, I haven’t really gotten to taper for any races this year. The last week or so it’s just been taking it easy, getting used to the jetlag. I’ve done all the hard work. I did my last kind of fast session there a few days ago, some 150s and I was really happy with them. I felt fast. I think I’ve adjusted well to the weather, the time zone change and everything like that.”
Becker’s bid to make the World Semi-Final will take place tomorrow at 8pm Irish Time when the 400m heats get underway. 51.91s was good enough to make the Olympic Semi-Finals as a fastest qualifier last summer a time which Becker will feel is very much within her reach.