More than 1/2 a dozen years after her first attempt at turning into a countrywide champion, Lorraine Ugen ultimately gained her maiden British lengthy soar title in February remaining yr. It was a full-size milestone in Ugen’s career, but unfortunately for the Texas-based athlete, it becomes overshadowed by means of the return of Katarina Johnson-Thompson, competing for the first time considering leaving her childhood to educate after a terrible Rio Olympics.
The story that day become all about Johnson-Thompson, who completed 2nd within the long bounce, rather than the girl who beat her. With justification, Ugen changed into a little disillusioned at the dearth of reputation. “So 2nd place is now higher than prevailing?” wrote one person in a post-Ugen retweeted.
There has long been a feeling of under-appreciation wherein Ugen, 26, is concerned. Her low profile does not befit an extended jumper who has gained global and European indoor medals over the last couple of years, and the numbers advise it is about time that modified.
Heading into the European Championships next week, Ugen isn’t always simply the No 1 jumper within the field this 12 months, but the sole British athlete to pinnacle the global standings in any area.
It became her 7.05-metre triumphing jump at the British Championships last month that positioned her in such an exalted role and she is the simplest woman lengthy jumper within the international to have broken seven meters this yr.
Ugen celebrates with her gold medal after triumphing the Women’s long leap in July
Ugen celebrates along with her gold medal after prevailing the Women’s lengthy bounce in July CREDIT: ACTION PLUS
“Coming into the season I wanted to have extra amusing with it, be comfier and no longer so uptight – not be so hard on myself,” she says.
“Even even though we’ve were given [European] Championships developing I’m now not putting pressure on myself or making myself think, ‘Now I should get severe’.
“It’s no longer that I wouldn’t do it, but now I don’t must be difficult on myself and I can hold relaxing knowing certainly my body can deliver me to the distances I’m trying to get to.
“I just experience a lot greater in form and I’ve were given right into a rhythm where I can do it a lot more consistently. I mustn’t attempt too hard to get distances out.
“It’s absolutely a boost once I recognize I’ve had a consistent season. I need to go into the champs degree-headed, knowing there are a few virtually proficient women there and there are going to be quite a few humans competing. I ought to realize it’s now not going to be a walk in the park.”
Ugen on the 2018 Athletics Diamond League in London CREDIT: ACTION PLUS
There is little danger of that. The women’s lengthy bounce in Berlin this week is as difficult an occasion as any on the European Championships with four of the five human beings to have jumped beyond 6.90m global this yr competing.
Serbia’s reigning champion Ivana Spanovic heads the making a bet, followed with the aid of Germany’s Malaika Mihambo and the British pair of Ugen and Shara Proctor. It is perhaps why Ugen does not have her points of interest trained on pinnacle spot just but, even with her global No 1 status.
“I’m just going there hoping to win a medal,” she says, conservatively. “Yes, I’m the international leader, however, there are still international-magnificence women who’re competing in Europe so I’m not going to place pressure on myself to mention I’m going to be dissatisfied if I don’t come away with the gold.
“I’m going to be disenchanted if I don’t come away with a medal, however, anything color relies upon on the day.
“It’s a possibility to get my first [international outdoor] senior medal and in an effort to with a bit of luck propel me to attempt to do the identical element on the World Championships subsequent yr.
“I sense having to returned-to-again years hopefully getting on the podium will optimistically propel me to do the identical component in Tokyo on the Olympics. Going into the subsequent couple of years that is the purpose – to get the ones outside medals.”
Ugen is one of the main names in a largely British crew anticipated to dominate the medal standings in the first European Athletics Championships to form a part of the inaugural multi-game European Championships, which began earlier this week.
Strong crowds were obtrusive in Glasgow – wherein six of the seven sports activities are being staged – over the last few days, even though the effect of the joined-up multi-recreation set-up can be negligible in Berlin, which turned into selected to host the athletics earlier than the broader idea became formulated.
Dina Asher-Smith is favorite to win 3 gold medals as she attempts to maintain off Holland’s double international champion Dafne Schippers in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m.
Bidding for her first primary out of doors name, Laura Muir appears to were given an open purpose within the 1,500m, with Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan’s decision to recognition simplest at the five,000m leaving the Scot nicely clean of the sector on all to be had measures.
Linford Christie’s long-standing British 100m report should come underneath risk with Zharnel Hughes, Reece Prescod and Chijindu Ujah focused on a capacity clean sweep of the medals. Adam Gemili and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake are also hoping to make the 200m podium up towards Turkey’s international champion Ramil Guliyev.
“It is one of the strongest groups Britain has taken to a European Championships so it suggests how significantly they are taking it,” says Mitchell-Blake. “We have a number of younger expertise and revel in across the board. It is not simply the dash team: we have center distance, Laura Muir inside the 1,500m, the throws, the jumps.
“All in all it needs to be considered one of our maximum a success, if no longer the maximum, European Championships ever.”