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  Full interview: Olympic hopeful Jo Fenn
Updated 25 June 2004, 10.00
Jo Fenn in training
Jo Fenn is off to Athens to represent Great Britain in the 800m event at the 2004 Olympics.

Here she talks about how she's preparing for the huge event in August and she gives her tips for young athletes.


How did you get into athletics?
From an early age I used to race my brother down the end of my street so I always thought of myself as a runner.

When I was about 12 I was introduced to a local athletics club by my PE teacher. She was encouraging and took me down the club which was where I got my first coach.

How long have you been competing in races?
From the time I joined the club - I was put straight into a race the following weekend.

But obviously at that age it's all about having fun. My 100m time was 13.6 seconds so every time I raced, regardless of where I finished, I always wanted to beat my own personal best.

Didn't you have a pop career before becoming an athlete?
Jo Fenn
Jo Fenn
Three years ago I got an acoustic guitar... I started writing music. I thought: "These songs are quite good!" So I sent them off to various record companies and next thing I knew they'd been entered into the European country charts and one of my songs had reached number 13!

Athletics takes priority with the Olympic Games this year, but I do hope to continue a musical career afterwards.

Who is your athletics hero?
I used to watch Sebastian Coe, Steve Cram, Steve Ovett, Diane Modhal and Kelly Holmes when I was growing up so they are my British childhood heroes.

Are you nervous or excited about competing in Athens?
I've competed in five major championships so far so I think it's going to be a very similar sort of outlook.

I'm trying to not put too much emphasis on the Olympic Games because if I was to take a minute to think about it I think I would get really, really nervous.

How are you preparing for the competition - are you following a special eating plan?
I train six times a week twice a day. I generally have Fridays off and race at the weekend.

I eat lots of red meat, chicken, fish, plenty of vegetables and loads of fresh fruit - that's my diet.

I don't eat chocolate or cakes or crisps and I don't drink alcohol either.

What are you hoping to achieve at the Olympics?
Jo Fenn
I want to run the 800m in 1 min 57 secs and I think that will guarantee a medal. If you look at previous Olympic Games, to get a medal you have to run under 1.58 - and that's my aim this season.

What do you think about when you are running?
When I'm just running or jogging in the park I think about what I'm having for tea or what I'll watch on TV. But in a race I'm concentrating on my technique, I'm concentrating on the other girls around me and I'm having to think tactically.

Have you got any helpful tips for someone young starting out in athletics?
Athletics is a free sport - you can go to a park and it doesn't cost you anything.

My advice for you would be to join an athletics club. That way you can have fun and socialise and meet other people who enjoy running.

You need to have a lot of self-discipline, you have to tell yourself: "I don't want to have late nights." When you're young it's all about having fun but if you want to persevere in the sport you have to believe in yourself.

If you train hard you're going to get success. It's that simple - work hard.

If you're thinking about joining a club now just think, in eight years time you could actually be competing in London 2012!

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