Louise Hazel: Commonwealth Champion Comes Out of Retirement…
English heptathlete Louise Hazel has confirmed to BBC Sport she has come out of retirement in a bid to defend her Commonwealth title later this year.
The 28-year-old, who won gold in Delhi in 2010, says the lure of competing in Glasgow was too strong to resist.
She had already admitted Jessica Ennis-Hill’s pregnancy, which means she will miss the Games, was a “game changer”.
“I’m in better shape than I thought I was in. I’m really excited and I can’t wait to get started,” she said.
Hazel announced her retirement from heptathlon in September, but added she was “not ruling out other sports”.
But after a series of tests on Wednesday, involving sprint work, the long jump, shot put and sessions in the gym, she confirmed her return.
“I was really pleasantly surprised by my tests. It’s a thumbs-up for Glasgow, if I’m selected,” said Hazel, who will now put together a “plan that involves coaching and sponsorship”.
She added: “I also have to chat to Commonwealth Games England to discuss the selection process and to see what hurdles have to be overcome.
“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think I could successfully defend my Commonwealth crown – I’m definitely targeting the podium.”
After making her major championship debut for Great Britain at the 2006 European Championships, Hazel finished 14th at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
Her personal best of 6,166 points, set in Germany in 2011, makes her the seventh best British heptathlete of all time, but she could only finish 27th at London 2012, where Ennis-Hill took gold and another fellow Briton, Katarina Johnson Thompson, was 15th.
In March, she called England Athletics’ selection policy for the Commonwealth Games “elitism gone mad”, saying it would deny young athletes the opportunity to gain vital experience of a multi-sport event ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics. Glasgow 2014 begins on Wednesday, 23 July.