Shona is keeping her head ahead of world title shot

On the pace: Shona Richards is off to the US

On the pace: Shona Richards is off to the US

First published in Sport Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

Ewell Village’s Shona Richards has already conquered England this year and now she is ready to take on the world.

The 18-year-old 400 metre hurdles specialist heads to the World Junior Championships in the United States with Team GB’s youngsters next week knowing she is the fastest U20 female athlete in the event this year.

The English U20 champion and Glyn School student has a personal best of 56.79 seconds – set in Belgium in May – and clocked 56.81secs in Germany earlier this month.

The rising Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow star is in good form ahead of the championships that announced Harry Aikines-Aryeety on the world stage in 2006.

But Richards knows times on paper will count for nothing when she steps on the start line in Oregon.

“It will be who performs on the day that counts, so I cannot get ahead of myself and have to take it one step at a time,” she said.

“I cannot think about the final or even getting there.

“I am second in the world rankings at the moment, but that counts for nothing really.

“I’ve seen the times of the other competitors and who is fast, so I think I have a chance of a medal.

“But in hurdles you could catch your trailing leg or mess up your stride pattern and that could ruin your chances in a flash.”

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