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Stanford hurdler's Olympic stadium drama
ATHLETICS: HAYLEY McLean’s Olympic Stadium experience swung from joy to despair and back again, writes Ryan Goad.
In the end she had her dad to thank for ensuring she’ll take nothing but happy memories away from what she described as her own “mini Olympics”.
The 17-year-old, from Stanford-le-Hope, ran a superb 400m hurdles in the elite UK Athletics race that ran on the same bill as the British Universities Championships (BUCs) on Saturday.
Despite being the youngest in the race, McLean finished second behind Great Britain senior international Elidh Child, clocking a personal best time of 58.57s.
But the Palmer’s College student’s joy was short-lived as the track judges – who had been pernickety all weekend – disqualified her.
They claimed her leading leg did not clear a hurdle but instead went round it.
McLean was inconsolable but help was at hand from dad, Alex, who by luck happened to be filming the race on his camcorder right in front of the controversial hurdle, which came at the 200m point.
And after McLean and coach Steve Mitchell spent an hour and a half lobbying officials, the Chelmsford AC athlete was reinstated.
“I was so lucky that my dad was there,” said McLean. “That’s what saved me.
McLean’s one regret about the evening was that her time fell seven hundreds of a second outside the qualifying time she needs to go to the World Junior Championships in Barcelona later this summer.
She said: “I spoke to my coach.
“And there’s a few things he thinks I could have done to have shaved a few tenths off here and there.
So hopefully that time will come,” she added.
For the fullo story see Friday's THURROCK GAZETTE.