10:26AM, Thursday 08 July 2021
Getty Images for British Athletics
Having thrown the Olympic qualifying mark and become the British champion in the past few weeks, Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow AC (WSEH) hammer thrower, Taylor Campbell, says he now hopes to compete, and take a few scalps at the Games in Tokyo.
It’s been a hectic week for the WSEH athlete, who celebrated his 25th birthday last week after being crowned the British Champion in Manchester with a throw of 75.10m. Campbell dominated the event, with his younger brother Bayley also throwing well to finish eighth with 64.87m.
Taylor’s mark was someway shy of his best which he achieved a few weeks ago in throwing a massive 78.23m in Hungary to earn the Olympic qualification standard, a distance only 45 centimetres shy of the gold medal winning throw at Rio in 2016.
He wasn’t necessarily expected to make the Great British team for Tokyo, but the year-long delay gave him enough time to force his way into the reckoning. However, he isn’t travelling to Tokyo simply to make up the numbers, he wants to qualify for the final and compete with the best.
“To step up and make an Olympics I wasn’t expected to make is a bonus really,” he said. “Personally, I want to go there and make the final. I don’t want to go and just participate. I want to go and compete, I want to rub shoulders with the best and take some of the top guy’s scalps, because in 2024 I want to go and be on the podium.
“I’ve shown I can throw some big distances and now it’s about consolidating that and doing it when it matters and beating people when it matters.”
Taylor now has a couple of weeks to work with his coach and relax and refocus ahead of the games before flying to Japan on July 18. Qualification for the hammer is due to take place on August 2, with the final on August 4. Taylor wants to be involved on both days, but he knows he’ll have to get ‘everything right’ with his throws to achieve that.
“We’re in a great position now to be in great shape for four weeks’ time, both physically and mentally,” he said. “The whole of June was a crazy month, and the last week has just been mental, becoming British champion, confirming my spot on the team, getting kitted out and having my vaccine.
“I now have two weeks of training and solid preparation, and I can also touch base with my coach, who unfortunately can’t come out to Tokyo. I can’t tell you the last time I had two solid weeks to focus on training because there’s been so much stuff going on.
“The goal is to make the final on August 4. This is my 14th year of throwing, but it’s all got to be right on the day. In previous competitions one thing might not have been right, but for the Olympics everything has got to be right, everything needs to come together. But I go into these Olympics in a great place.”
This weekend’s smart motorway closures on the M4 will be shorter than usual due to separate bridge works taking place in West Berkshire (Junctions 13-14)