Woodward's calm pays off
Nathan Woodward insisted he wouldn't be reaching for the panic button after a slow start to the battle for an Olympic 400m hurdles berth - and he's reaping the benefits of it now.
Woodward was one of the more surprise members of the British team for last summer's World Championships in Daegu - edging out more experienced heads such as European and Commonwealth medallist Rhys Williams in appearing at his first major global senior competition.
However after the breakthrough of 2011 - Woodward also won European under-23 400m hurdles silver - the Tamworth AC sprinter appeared to be struggling early on in 2012.
While four of his rivals achieved the Olympic A standard, Woodward was languishing down in seventh in the British standings, over half a second shy of the much-coveted mark of 49.50 seconds.
However last weekend came the breakthrough as he ran 49.42 in Prague and with a top-two finish at the Aviva 2012 Trials now needed to guarantee an Olympic place - he's determined to stay in tip-top shape.
"The way I had run so was disappointing because training had been going really well," said Woodward. "I would have liked to have run a better time but I knew it would click and I knew I would be good to go. The trials are obviously a big date in my diary and I'm going to be ready.
"The trials are going to be good this year because with myself, Rhys Williams, Dai Greene and Jack Green there are a lot of rivalries, which means it will be a great race come the trials.
"People should be pushed to some really quick times. I don't really think of it as a personal battle because I just like to concentrate solely on my race and what I am doing."
The trials will be the biggest British qualification event of any Olympic sport and the most competitive since the 1992 Barcelona Olympic trials as over 750 athletes - including Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, Phillips Idowu and Dai Greene - go head-to-head in a battle for selection.
And, despite the magnitude of the occasion and the competition on show, Woodward is adamant what has been a slow and steady approach will see him come out on top.
"If I execute my race then I know I will run quickly," he added. "I have not changed my stride pattern over the winter it is just that I am usually a slow starter in the outdoor season and then I build.
"Last year it took me until June to start getting quick. I am rhythmical runner so it takes me a few races to find my rhythm but once I get it I'm fine."