Peterborough Athletic Club’s part in Louise Hazel’s Commonwealth gold medal
And, although fellow Heptathlete Julie Hollman runs her close, Louise Hazel stands above them all. Both athletes have one Olympic Games and one World Championship under their belts, with Louise having competed in the 2011 World Athletics Championship, where she finished 15th, and the 2012 London Olympics, where she finished 27th. However her greatest achievement came in 2010 when she won Commonwealth Games heptathlon hold.
Born in South London in October 1985, but spending most of her childhood in March, Louise discovered athletics at the age of 10, promptly joining March Braza AC.
It was clear even in those early days that Louise had huge potential.
Looking back she said: “I recognised before I joined Peterborough AC that I’d outgrown my local club March Braza AC by way of coaching and facilities. I constantly wanted better for myself, to keep growing and improving and I always knew that I had something special athletically.
“Most of my rivals were outside Peterborough AC, but being surrounded by and training alongside Aileen Wilson, Julie and Anne Hollman and Caroline Pearce was hugely inspiring for me as a young athlete.”
Once at Peterborough AC the talented athlete made rapid progress winning English Schools 100m and pentathlon gold in 2000. In 2003 she was selected to represent England in the pentathlon in a fixture against France and Germany, scoring 5026 points.
Two years later Louise started a degree course at Birmingham University and the medals came thick and fast.
In 2006 she won the British Universities Championships 100m hurdles gold. This was followed in 2007 by British Universities long jump silver and the England Athletics U23 Championships 100m hurdles bronze.
In 2008 she again finished runner-up in the British Universities long jump, and joined one of the nation’s leading athletic clubs Birmingham based Birchfield Harriers soon after.
Like all multi-eventers Hazel had her favoured events as well as her weaker disciplines. .
“I loved 100m, 100m hurdles, long jump and javelin, but I struggled throughout my career with the high jump.” Louise said.
A good coach was therefore a must and she was not short of these in her time with Peterborough AC.
“Peter Robinson got me interested in combined events with his enthusiasm,” Louise recalled, “And Martin Green introduced structure and planning to my training for combined events with his organization and great group of female talent. “Hurdling came easily but not without lots of practice and there was always great competition from the other girls in Martin’s group.
“Dee Walker made me believe in my natural ability as a sprint athlete and built my confidence, and Mike McNeil taught me how to throw a javelin and always believed in me as a heptathlete - he was an excellent teacher!”
Probably the best decision Louise ever made was to appoint great local rival and fellow Olympian
Julie Hollman as her coach. “It was a game changer,” Louise enthused. “After I didn’t make the Olympics in 2008 we teamed up as athlete and coach rather than rivals and I made it to the world championships in 2009 within nine months of working together. Julie knew me as an athlete we were a great team!”
The 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games heptathlon was won thanks to an incredible second day. With Louise some distance behind Canadian Jessica Zelinka after day one, she shattered her long jump personal best with a distance of 6.44m and then went on to smash her Javelin best with a throw of 44.22m. She only betterd this distance once when she threw 47.38 in the 2012 London Olympics.
Retirement came in 2013 with her Delhi PB of 6156 points placing her sevent in the all-time British heptathlon rankings.
Louise is now based in Los Angeles and is running a successful fitness training business, with a gym on Hollywood Boulevard. Since her retirement from athletics she has also appeared on charity editions of TV game shows and has been an ambassador for The British Heart Foundation.
On top of this, as a reward for an exceptional career, Hazel has been awarded the freedom of March.