GB sprinter Imani Lansiquot on challenging and inspiring athletics season
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 19/11/19 12:52pm
"It broke my heart to pull out of my first major final and not compete with the girls. But there was a literal silver lining, winning my first senior World silver medal as being a part of the qualifying rounds.
"I can genuinely look back on the World Championships as a really positive learning experience that accelerated my maturity levels to understand what it really takes to be world-class."
It's time for reflection for Imani Lansiquot as Britain's fourth-fastest female sprinter of all time takes a well-earned rest before the big push towards the Olympics in Japan.
The 21-year-old Londoner and Sky Sports Scholar opens up on how a turbulent debut on the Worlds stage has shown her the light......
"What a year it has been! As challenging as it was, my athletics season was equally transformative and eye-opening.
The penultimate year to the Olympic Games was distinct in many ways, mainly because it was the longest season I've ever had.
We literally trained from October 2018 to October 2019 as the World Championships were held later in Doha this year, which was a huge test of physical and mental resilience.
The extra time during the season was a fantastic opportunity to trial new things in training, learn more about my race and it also worked pretty well with my university exams finishing before my competing season.
Equally, the length of the season was, at times, mentally gruelling. The biggest omen of them all was picking up injuries at crucial times in the year, most notably, minutes before I was about to compete in the world final, where our relay team was competing for gold.
I left as a World semi-finalist in the 100m and World silver medalist in the 4x100m, which was more than I had ever achieved on a world scale.
It was such an incredible and overwhelming experience, so I decided to summarise what I learned in three parts. Hopefully this could also help others who may have gone through a similar thing.
The best thing about sport is that its lessons can transcend beyond the event and often serve as a microcosm to the wider picture of life.
1. If you don't push yourself, you'll never know how far you can go
Probably the best part about getting injured this year was unleashing a new level to my mental resilience I didn't know I had.
It can be difficult when things don't go to plan, especially in sport where often us athletes are impatient and see things through a short-term lens rather than a long-term one.
But even with all the noise and 'hype' of the season, I really learned how to dig deep, push myself and block out all of the things that were not relevant.
Not only did I end up achieving some short-term goals along the way, but it also gave me confidence towards the Olympic year I can take more of these challenges in my stride.
2. Taking ownership over mistakes
A great thing about making mistakes is that you're better equipped to avoid the same situations again. For me, it was empowering to realise that I could take more ownership over these mistakes and know how I would do things differently in the future.
The transition from a younger athlete to a senior one is difficult in this sense, as you start with other people telling you what is right for you, and eventually end up needing to take responsibility for this yourself.
However, there is no risk without reward, and it's an exciting prospect to take charge of your team and your dreams!
3. The only thing you're entitled to is fresh air - go out and grab opportunities!
A great quote that my Sky Scholar mentor Geoff Shreeves told me repeatedly throughout the year!
It really shifted my perspective on things, especially during injury, and dared me to go out of my comfort zone to get what I really wanted.
This was especially true when I was feeling disappointed about my first few races after injury. I felt disheartened that I wasn't back where I was pre-injury, but this quote reminded me that I had to literally go out and create the opportunity that I wanted, because nobody is entitled to an easy ride.
This led to a much better run in my next race which gave me the confidence I needed going into the World Championships.
Ultimately, the 2019 season was a fantastic learning curve towards the Olympics and I was lucky enough to pick up new personal bests and some silverware along the way.
As we prepare for next year, I hope to build on 2019 and achieve more of my aspirational goals in 2020.
I couldn't be where I am at the moment without the incredible support I've had from everybody at Sky and I hope to make the Sports Scholar family proud this year.
I am really looking forward to getting back to work, laying down some more mature foundations and going after what I want! Wish me luck!