Journey to the Gold Coast: Morgan Lake
Today marks the five-month countdown to the Commonwealth Games athletics schedule getting underway in Australia’s sun-drenched Gold Coast. Team England announced selections for the 75-strong athletics squad on 24th October, and those athletes will now have their sights firmly set on what is considered the competition pinnacle for England representative teams.
In the lead up to next April’s event we will be speaking to various members of the squad as they make their preparations for this next milestone in their athletics careers. While some of the squad are seasoned performers on the big stage, many of the younger members of the squad will be getting their first taste of participating in a major multi-sport championship.
High Jumper, Morgan Lake (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow AC; Coach: Fuzz Caan), will be one of the athletes on the plane to Australia next year, and her excitement at the prospect of competing in her first Commonwealth Games is clear to see, “There are so many aspects of the event I am looking forward to. It’s going to be a completely unique experience to anything I’ve done before. Going all the way to Australia for one, then the multi-sport environment, and being Team England instead of Team GB. The atmosphere inside the stadiums during the competition will be a huge lift for all the athletes, and the weather will be amazing.
"I really enjoyed the World Championships in London, and to achieve sixth place was something I was proud of. There will be some of the same competitors in the field at Gold Coast, so it will be a very strong competition. I want to concentrate on my own development and training, I know that if I get that right then I’ll jump well in Australia.”
As a psychology student, Morgan has great awareness of keeping mental focus; “The power of belief is extremely important for an athlete, and getting into the right positive mind-set plays a huge part in how successful you can be, and is something I tell myself regularly. I will take this belief with me to the Commonwealth’s next year.”
Around the time of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Morgan was at the World Junior Championships in Oregon claiming Heptathlon, and High Jump Gold medals. This came alongside a trophy laden career at National level that saw Morgan winning multiple England Athletics age-group titles.
“The England Athletics champs were my first major memories of being an up-and-coming athlete, going through the ranks. It was always the biggest competition of the season. As it was usually right towards the end of the season it was definitely the main event that I would work towards.
"It was always a busy weekend for me as a multi-eventer. I remember it being nerve-wracking, but that was partly due to how important it was for me. I would remind myself to keep focused during all my events, and just to enjoy it.”
Will there be a return to the multi-eventing in which she gained so much success as a junior?
“I feel like high jump is my event at the moment, and that is what I’m wanting to concentrate on. I’ve completely changed my training schedule, you could say it’s a gamble – but I just want to see how far I can go with this. But that doesn’t mean I won’t return to the Heptathlon, it is just I have currently parked it for the time being.
After the Commonwealth Games, and over the next few years it may be an event I return to.”
Morgan remembers being inspired as a youngster while watching her idol Jess Ennis-Hill’s performances on television. What advice would she now give the next generation of young athletes who will now be watching her?
“One of the biggest things is being patient, and making sure you’re enjoying what you’re doing. It is important to work hard, but you also can’t get too angry and agitated if things don’t go exactly to plan each time you compete. Striving to reach your full athletic potential is a lengthy and sometimes difficult process, but if you keep working hard you’ll keep moving closer to those targets that you have set yourself, eventually you’ll be where you want to be.”