Sprinter and Sky Scholar Imani Lansiquot fit and ready for new sprinting dreams
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 06/11/17 2:40pm
It's been a summer of change for Imani Lansiquot.
New coach. Back in the classroom after a year's sabbatical. Becoming a Sky Sports Scholar.
Being stuck in a rehabilitation room for a few months has been no fun, but GB's rising sprinting star, who turns 20 just before Christmas, is firing on all cylinders again and desperate to get her athletics career and studies back on track.
Will it be a winter of content? The second fastest British junior in history hopes so...
This year has been a bit of a rollercoaster. It was far from what I wished the season to be, and I spent a lot of time feeling I had failed.
With a fresh season ahead, I consider 2017 as one of the most important years of my life so far. Maturing on and off the track will hopefully help me become a better athlete and person, and despite the disappointment, it is only through failure that we learn the real lessons of what it takes to succeed.
I suffered a lot of injuries throughout the year; something that any athlete could tell you is the most frustrating thing. You train for six months getting ready for the summer and when it's time to go, your body doesn't allow it!
This time I used it as an opportunity to learn more about my body; what and who works best for me in my team, and I built lots of mental robustness along the way.
It was pretty difficult coming off the back of a successful year with lots expected of me and not reaching my goals. Nevertheless, I learned a big lesson. Although it is hard to be in a results-based sport and not be completely goal-led, I had to remember to fall in love with the process and not be so obsessed with the result.
It makes the journey a less-stressful experience, with more opportunity to enjoy what I love best - to run!
I also decided to take a gap year to focus more on my track career and have a break from education. In some ways, this was a great decision.
It was my first taste at full-time training and also allowed me to figure myself out away from the textbooks. I think it's good to have something to distract you from the drama of the sport, and now I am at university I'm so happy I decided to go.
It gives me a different outlet to expend my energy in, and makes training a much more enjoyable experience. My schedule at the moment is definitely hectic with university and training.
In the beginning, I really struggled with time management and tiredness as I train and go to university almost every day, and rarely have any down time.
I don't mind too much because I love what I do, but juggling the two is incredibly difficult and I really commend all the athletes who can complete a degree alongside a successful track career!
I am studying psychology at Kings College London and couldn't be prouder to be at such an esteemed university. Despite the ridiculous volumes of work and travelling, I love the pace of my life and it doesn't make me feel like all my eggs are in one basket.
After track, I have the option to pursue a career in psychology, a dream I have always had alongside my dreams of Olympic gold.
I have also changed my coach this year and I am now working with coach Steve Fudge. I love my training. Every day feels like an opportunity to learn something new and this complements my personality well as I love to tackle new challenges.
Steve is also big on patience and process, which allows me to work on perfecting the basics and keeping long-term goals in mind. I have been able to apply a lot of the maturity I built from last season to this one, which so far has been a refreshing experience.
I am really looking forward to attacking the rest of my winter and the 2018 season!
The Sky Sports Scholarship is an amazing tool in helping me to continue maturing into a young woman and athlete. It boasts a plethora of opportunities - a brilliant mentoring scheme, workshops and financial assistance that will help me work towards professionalism within my sport with things like physiotherapy, travel and accommodation.
I love the ethos of the scheme, focusing on the development of talented young athletes, providing that extra 'push' or 'inspiration' that they can reach their highest heights.
When Sky say that they believe in what you can do, it's not only a huge honour but also even more motivation moving forward to 2020. I can't wait to grow with them as an athlete and person, and be able to look back on some of the best years of my life.
The ethos of the program has also inspired me in my more personal own passions and has really inspired me to use my career as a way of motivating other young women, like myself, to strive for more.
I don't feel like I had a female role model growing up, and even though I am far from being one myself, I want to be able to give girls a reason to keep going, and plant the seed of belief for the next generation of female power.
Here's to 2018!