Athletics ace Lee Emanuel is gearing up for what he’s called the biggest event of his life.
The St Leonards-based middle distance runner is set to represent England in the men’s 1,500m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The three semi-finals will take place just after 6pm this evening (Friday) at Hampden Park Stadium with the final scheduled for 7.35pm tomorrow at the same venue.
Emanuel said: “I think this is the biggest race of my life; the only thing I’ve done close to this was the Anniversary Games last year. I’m hoping it will make me run fast. I’m hoping to do well and run a PB because it’s potentially going to be a fast race.”
The 29-year-old’s initial aim is to qualify for the final and should he achieve that, Emanuel’s sights will then be set on securing a top five finish.
“I’m hoping to get top five if I can,” he continued. “There’s about 12 or 15 guys who are decent, and there’s only 12 places in the final so there’s going to be a few good people who don’t make it.
“My main aim is to make the final. I’ve definitely got to run hard on Friday to make the final. I want to try and win my heat, and the next day takes care of itself.
“It’s quite strong for a Commonwealth Games this year. There’s three Kenyan guys that have run really fast and my old training partner from New Zealand has just run one of the fastest times in the world.”
Emanuel is one of three England runners in the field along with Richard Peters and Brighton-based Charlie Grice. Scotland also have a fairly strong representation and Emanuel says it would be nice to be the best performing British athlete.
“Being the top British runner is a mini-aim,” he went on. “Three of the British guys ran pretty decent times two weeks ago and within me I want to try and prove I’m the best in Britain at the moment, but that will be a hard task. It’s the best year Britain have had for 1,500m for a while.”
It will be Emanuel’s second appearance at the Commonwealth Games having run the 5,000m in Delhi in 2010.
“Last time I was reserve and had kind of stopped training and I was only really going for the experience,” he added. “This year I’m fully focused on doing well; I’m going there thinking I’m going to achieve something.
“It’s a big event and a lot of people are looking at it. If I can do well, it will boost my profile a fair amount. I’m feeling good and the last six or seven weeks have been pretty good in terms of training.”
Emanuel has done a couple of warm-up races in Austria and Belgium since returning from his training base in New Mexico. Having watched the opening ceremony and some of the early action on television, he planned to travel to Glasgow on Tuesday.