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'I could be faster'

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HE WON a bronze medal and moved up the rankings to sixth in the world for his age group, but Jacob Paul still thinks he could have run faster.

The Banstead teenager smashed his personal best time in the 400-metres hurdles twice at the 2013 European Junior Championships on his way to taking bronze in a time of 50.71 seconds the final on Sunday.

But having run the draining race three times in as many days in the heat in Rieti, Italy, Paul admits the intense schedule took it out of him – insisting he felt he could have ran a sub-50 time.

"I got two new personal bests in three days, but all three times were faster than I'd run before the weekend," Paul explained.

"The conditions were pretty perfect, and the track was fast but the heat was a little bit much, especially when you were warming up.

"It was a lot of hard work coming together for my coach Marina Armstrong and I.

"After I'd run 50.74 in the heat I felt quite relaxed and I was thinking in the semi and in the final I might have run low 50s or even a sub-50 was possible, but I think three races in three days was intense."

Despite Paul, having turned 18 in February, being at the lower end of the U20 age group, the weekend's results moved him up to sixth in the world at the 400m hurdles.

And with that in mind, Paul is targeting next year's World Junior Championship and has his heart set on bringing home some silverware yet again.

"Next year I will still be a junior, whereas a lot of the others I've been racing against were born in 1994 so they will be too old for next year's World Junior Championships in the States," he said.

"I hope if I work hard to get my time down over the winter I will get selected and then I'll be aiming firstly to make the final, but possibly to medal."


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