Last week marked the beginning of the long hard winter training season for many British athletes, with others starting this one as well. It is back to the drawing board and the grindstone, either packing in the miles, conditioning, endless hopping or bounding drills, or lifting tons in the gym – and so much more. But this isn’t the start of just any winter season.

This is a special one as it leads to the summer that very much every athlete across the country have been looking for and dreaming of over the last several years. The banners are flying high in the breeze and the glimmering trumpets up on the walls of the new Olympic stadium are sending out the call that the ‘Big Dream’, the 2012 Olympics, are impending so everybody better prepare well to joust for the right to compete in the ultimate event.

Sarah Holt, 24 and a Sale Harrier in Manchester, is among the many Olympic hopefuls that share that same goal and dream. Coached by former Olympic and World discus finalist Robert Weir, she finished last season as UK’s number two in the women’s hammer, a place up on her ranking the previous term, at a PB of 66.46 set at the McCain Jumps & Throws Festival at Hendon, improving substantially from 65.51m (2010).

She moved on to confirm her position as she came runner-up behind burgeoning Sophie Hitchon at the UK Trials in Birmingham with 65.53m, her second farthest ever, and also had a few fouls that suggested that she may have left a metre or two in the throwing ring rather than in the range. Therefore she feels confident that there is a lot more to come and she can hope.

The road to London won’t be easy or strewn with roses, though, as she has first the reach the B qualifying region that lies at 69m and that may not be enough as well. UK number one Hitchon has very much gained a sound footing in that territory and at the rate she’s been progressing she could hit well over 70m next summer. Further, even if the World U20 champion lands beyond the A standard of 71.50m, Holt will need to emulate that to follow through into the team according to the selection policy – consequently, the real target looks like lying at that latter mark rather…

So can the 2009 European U23 bronze medalist make very much 5m on her PB? Well, she is a huge Manchester United fan so she knows well that everything is possible even deep into stoppage time, looking also to uphold a fabulous trend of PB’ing in every single season since 2003.

Here are some glimpses into her training as she has started her long journey towards a massive year, so best of luck to her!

Throw with short-wire 8kg hammer

Short-wire 6kg throw

3.5kg hammer throw