Athletics: Diamond looking to continue sparkling form

Emily Diamond is confident she can take her Olympic experience one step further with a medal-winning season on the international stage this time around.

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Boosted after being selected for Team GB's 4x400m relay squad at London 2012, the 21-year-old sprinter is setting her sights on the podium for the European Under-23 Championship in Finland next July.

A former 200m specialist who only made the switch to 400m earlier this year, Diamond also hopes to secure a place competing over the longer distance at the premier event of 2013, the World Championships in Moscow.

Alongside the small matter of finishing her degree, the Loughborough University student is taking her preparations in her stride as the start of the indoor season looms.

"The training's going really well. I'm into my third week back now so my body's hurting quite a bit," said Diamond, who has been promoted to the UK Athletics' World Class Performance Programme.

"I've started doing more 400m sessions than ever so it's a bit of a shock to the system. It's pretty gruelling, but it'll be all worth it in the long run.

"My main goal is to be in amongst the medals at the European Under-23s next year, that'd be fantastic.

"Hopefully I can get my 400m time inside 51 seconds then I can be in with a shout of a medal at the Under-23s, that's the main aim.

"To make the relay team at the World Championships would be fantastic, and an individual event would be even better, but either would be amazing.

"Before that though there's the indoor season and my first aim is to improve on last year and get in the team for the European Indoor Championships in March."

After a successful 2012 in which she took the 200m title at the BUCS Championships in the Olympic Stadium, Diamond finished fourth in the Olympic trials in June to fix her spot in Team GB's relay squad alongside 400m silver medallist Christine Ohuruogo.

Although she did not make the final four, Diamond said the experience has given her a new perspective on the possibilities that lie ahead.

"Being part of the amazing team during the Olympics has massively boosted my confidence and made me even more determined to compete in Rio in four years time," she added.

"It made me realise that I desperately want to be there. Coming close wouldn't be good enough for me, I want to be competing and getting into the final and pushing towards the medals.

"That's my dream, and because I've been so close to running on the track in front of 80,000 people it just made me want it so much more.

"The atmosphere was amazing. The way the crowd got behind Christine was incredible, I was just in awe. I thought, I just want that to be me!"

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