YORK hurdler Chelsea Walker is determined to ensure lightning doesn’t strike twice as she prepares for another major outing at the Sainsbury’s School Games in Sheffield, writes Hattie Lee.

The 16-year-old has competed at some of the biggest races possible for her this season and enjoyed success too, returning from the English Schools’ Championships in July with 300 metres hurdles gold.

That earned her an outing at the Schools International in Dublin two weeks later. However, Walker suffered a fall at the final hurdle and had to make do with fifth place.

Next up for the City of York hurdler are the School Games, which are set to see 1,600 athletes descend on Sheffield and compete across 12 different sports.

And Walker, who attends Market Weighton School, is adamant history won’t repeat itself in the Steel City as she bids for another podium finish in the 300m hurdles.

“I won the English Schools’, which was a great achievement, but I fell at the final hurdle at the Schools’ International and ended up coming fifth,” said Walker.

“Hopefully that won’t happen again at the School Games. It is really hard to get a correct stride pattern in between the hurdles.

“And even if you keep working on it, you never know if you are going to be able to get it right in competitions.

“I’ve been able to work on my sprinting for the relay but not on my actual hurdling technique but hopefully my experiences in other national competitions will help me to perform as well as I can.

“I don’t really know what to expect as I have never competed at the School Games before but it was good to be chosen to represent the North-East.”

Walker set a new personal best of 42.54 seconds on the way to gold at the English Schools’ Championships at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium two months ago.

And, with the School Games welcoming athletes from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England, Walker is relishing the chance to race against the very best in the UK.

“It’s hard to get a varied competition in the hurdles so I hope that there will be more competition for me,” she added.

“Most of the competitors who do provide a challenge in races come from my area so it will be interesting to see if I come up against anyone from another part of the country that is able to provide me with a challenge.”

The Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games, which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, takes place in Sheffield from 12-15 September 2013. Visit www.2013schoolgames.com for more information.