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Interview: Laviai Nielsen

Interview: Laviai Nielsen


Here at Mission Worldie, I am passionate about inspiring young people to participate in sport. After attending Loughborough International Athletics meet in May and witnessing so much raw talent, I felt inspired by one young lady in particular. Miss Laviai Nielsen, team GB Juniors 400m newbie. At age 18, Laviai finds herself balancing intense training, competing and A-Levels. With a 400m PB of 53.86*, Miss Nielsen is definitely one to watch.

Hi Laviai, for those who haven’t heard much about you, can you just give us a quick “about me”…

I’m 18 years old, so I’m a British junior athlete. I live in London, just finishing my A Levels, and I run the 400m for Enfield & Haringey Athletics Club. I’ve been in the sport for about 7 years now, but I’ve only just taken it up at a serious level for a year and a half now. It’s pretty much the only sport I have an interest in!

So, Laviai when did you first get into training?

I started training at the age of 11 with my twin sister. Initially, we were middle/long distance and cross country runners, until we both realised last year, that we’re probably more suited to sprinting, so started training for the 400m instead at the age of 17.

That’s amazing, such a good background to have for the 400m. What are your earliest memories of athletics? 

Racing against boys in primary school and always beating them! That was the first time I realised I had a talent in running.

Oh you show ‘em girl! As an athlete, you must have a gruelling training program. Where do you get the motivation to get up and train? 

Hmm.... Let’s just say - I haven’t always been a successful athlete, so that always motivates me. I’m running very well at the moment, and I just want to keep going the way I’m going. I always want to beat the person I was a few weeks ago. But it’s not particularly difficult for me to get the motivation for training because I just love it so much, I have such a great passion for running. 

Your passion really does shine through and it’s awesome to see! What type of training sessions do you enjoy most and how long would you usually train for?

Training sessions range from 2-3 hours depending on what we do. I think because of my long distance background, I quite prefer the longer runs we do as 400m runners, so anything from 250m reps to 500m reps. Gym sessions are also fun and exciting, especially knowing that I’m getting stronger week by week.

Yeah we’re green with envy of those abs, need to workout with you! Right, so you’re only 18 - so how do you balance training, school and a social life?!

Social life?! What social life? Education takes no.1 priority, so throughout the whole year, I’ve been making sure to get any school work done before training. Training is also a priority, so sometimes, sacrifices have to be made. 

It's incredible to see how focused and hard-working you are, inspiring! Who has inspired you? 

Definitely Jessica Ennis! Leading up to the Olympics, I was keeping up with her everyday (I promise I’m not a stalker!!) She has a great drive to succeed, and she’s been through a lot in her career and it was a very inspiring moment when she received the gold medal in London. I think she’s absolutely gorgeous as well! 

Oh we love Mrs Ennis, I don’t think you were alone with those stalking tendencies… Lets talk about the future. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Hopefully, I’d like to be competing for GB internationally, and be good enough to compete at major championships across the world. That’s definitely something I’m aiming for.

That's a highly achievable goal. We can’t wait to watch you blossom. Where will you be competing this summer?! 

I’ll be doing the 400m at the England U20 Championships and the Senior British Championships, both in June, but for the rest, it’s hard to say at the moment. I hope to go to the World Junior Championships in Eugene, USA as a member of the 4x400m team, but I’m hoping to get the qualifying time for the individual as well. I’m not that far off now, so fingers crossed the season goes well!

A special thank you to Laviai Nielsen for taking the time to talk to us, you are a true inspiration, best of luck this summer and for the future! You can follow Laviai on twitter to keep up with her performance - @Laviai 

Sainsbury’s British Championship are to be held Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium 27th-29th June 2014,

tickets are available here

*PB time correct at time of publishing.

Images by Adrian Royle