When Croydon sprinter Cheyanne Evans-Gray stormed to a BUCS Championship 60m indoor record in February, it looked the perfect platform on which to build.
Within a matter of weeks, however, those plans had to take a back seat as the country entered lockdown, competitions were cancelled and the 22-year-old was forced to swap the track for the park.
“I would have loved to have a good go at the Olympic trials and would have tried to go to the World Indoors,” said Evans-Gray.
“Based on my 60m time (7.28 seconds), I could have been running a pretty good time for 100m so I felt I had a pretty good chance for the relay team as well. It has been pretty hard – not being able to train has driven me nuts.
“Motivation levels naturally drop when you’re not working towards something and with no races to prepare for, I felt a bit lost.
“You have to dig deep and find the motivation from somewhere else, which for me was staying in shape to be in a better position for next season.”
Evans-Gray’s chances of hitting the ground running when competitions return have been boosted by funding from a three-year partnership between GVC and SportsAid, which helps young athletes fulfil their potential.
The initiative, part of GVC’s Pitching In campaign, helps cover training, travel, equipment and nutrition and has recently aided Evans-Gray with chiropractor treatment as she recovers from lower back pains.
Evans-Gray balances training commitments with studying Sports Science at the University of East London and working as a Ladbrokes customer service manager. She caught the sprinting bug by winning Croydon Primary Schools’ events but took chunks of time away from the track throughout her teenage years.
But Evans-Gray hasn’t looked back since rejoining her first club, Croydon Harriers, at the age of 20 and has thrived under the tutelage of Paul Weston.
“When I joined, I was considerably slower than everybody else but I had to put that out of my mind, get my head down and train,” Evans-Gray said. “I started dropping times really quickly and it was a real confidence boost.
“Since then, I have competed in the British Championships – a new level for me – and breaking the BUCS record was a real eye-opener.
“Every athlete’s ultimate goal is to be the best at Olympic level. I would love to go and compete in the Olympics and get on the podium.
“A bit more short-term, I’m looking to compete in the World Championships in 2022. That would be my first big event and I feel I have the potential to get there.”
GVC is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. As part of this three-year partnership, GVC are supporting a diverse group 50 of UK athletes per year from a variety of spots and para-sports. Visit gvc-plc.com to find out more.
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