Lina Nielsen on yoga, rivals and Olympic targets

Nielsen, the eighth quickest British ladies’s 400m hurdles ever, is a professional yoga trainer
Date: June 24-26 Venue: Manchester Regional Enviornment
Protection: Dwell on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport web site and the app

The solar peeks over the horizon. Cows chew on skinny grass. The gurgling of the Ganges River is the one sound.

That is an asset. Not but at 6 p.m.

However by the gate of the ashram, Lina Nielsen pours salt water right into a nostril in a big open courtyard.

“It cleanses the nostril to arrange for respiration workouts,” he explains to BBC Sport.

“After that, we hopped in silence on the foot of the Himalayas, specializing in our respiration. We reached the highest, got here again down, drank tea.

“Then it was a philosophy class or an anatomy class, a lightweight lunch, a 30-minute break the place you possibly can sleep or research, one other two-hour yoga class, a small break, then one other yoga class.

“It was actually fierce. 13 hours in 28 days. It was additionally top-of-the-line experiences of my life. I miss it a lot.”

Fifty years in the past the Beatles had made the identical journey comparable to Nielsen, from London to the northern Indian metropolis of Rishikesh.

The seek for enlightenment by John Lennon and Paul McCartney got here with a circus. Their fame introduced sacred costs to the town’s photographers and reporters.

However Nielsen discovered the anonymity he needed.

5 weeks earlier, he completed seventh on the British Championships in Birmingham, with out qualifying for the 2019 Doha World Championships.

“I used to be very, very unhappy about it and needed one thing to remove my focus,” he remembers.

“I did not wish to inform anybody that I used to be an athlete as a result of I’ve to elucidate that I did not make it to the World Cup. I needed a trip from being an athlete.”

Nielsen’s cowl story was that he was a receptionist.

Nonetheless, as he stretched out his ideas and physique on the mat together with his fellow college students, it slowly unfolded.

As others struggled with bodily exertion, Nielsen absorbed it suspiciously effectively.

One night time their anatomy trainer checked out Nielsen’s arch, hit his soles, and despatched him to class as some kind of runner.

He lastly acquired clear.

“If you spend 28 days dwelling so shut collectively, you grow to be a susceptible uncooked particular person. Everybody sees your true colours since you’re away from dwelling, the place every part is so new that you find yourself so shut.”

Covid arrived shortly after Nielsen left India with a circle of latest pals and certified as a yoga trainer.

The Olympics had been postponed and Nielsen was re-evaluated. After confessing to his classmates, he needed to be loyal to himself.

“It was essential to be sincere about what I would like from this sport and how you can take care of it,” he mentioned.

“I’ve improved tremendously in my mentality by coaching and competitions.

“This yr I wish to go to all three occasions [Worlds, Commonwealths, Europeans]. I wish to have all of the expertise I can run in Paris.

“That is the aim: to make the Olympics and get an Olympic medal.”

This can be a bullish goal. Nielsen is 26. Though he acquired his title in Commonwealth Video games of England on Wednesday, he isn’t but making his grand championship debut.

Nonetheless, his type is quick and improves rapidly.

In 2021, he achieved a private file of lower than a second in lower than a second within the 400m hurdles earlier than shedding one other half second within the 54.73-second run in Rome earlier this month.

This put him eighth on the British all-time chart and twelfth quickest on the earth.

Nielsen believes extra is coming. And so forth.

“I used to be on the ninth monitor in Rome,” she recalled. “A lot of the tracks are eight-line, I do not even bear in mind once I was final ninth.

“I felt so far-off, I did not hear anybody, I believed I used to be working to one of many sponsors’ screens and I had despatched the barrier to the air.

“A lot went mistaken. None of my races have gone as deliberate thus far this yr.

“If I get this race proper, we sit up for a a lot sooner time.”

He wants it too.

Sydney McLaughlin
Sydney McLaughlin set a 400m hurdles 400m in Olympic gold in Tokyo final summer season.

On the world stage, Sydney’s file holder Sydney McLaughlin is in a separate class. The dominant power in Europe is the Dutch Femke Bol. At dwelling, Jessie Knight remains to be the one to win.

This weekend, Nielsen and Knight will face off on the British Championships in Manchester. With the qualifying customary already in place, Nielsen’s high two end may even safe a spot on the World Championships in Oregon in July.

There may be stress. However after Rishikesh, Nielsen is aware of how you can launch it.

“By means of meditation, I discover this peaceable place earlier than the race,” he mentioned. “To breathe, decrease your feelings and discover it in Zen.”

If every part goes in accordance with plan, this movement will take all of it the best way to the Paris podium.

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