Rainford heptathlete Danielle McGifford is a woman on a mission – adamant nothing will stop her claiming a plane ticket across the pond for her dream trip this summer.
The 19-year-old is desperate to book her spot in the Team GB side that will be competing at the World Junior Championships in America in July.
But with just one heptathlon place left to fill, and only one more opportunity to impress, McGifford knows she must give it her all in the final qualifier – the England U20 Combined Events Championships in Bedford at the end of the month.
And McGifford insists she is up for the fight, with not even her impending university exams at Edge Hill set to slow her down.
“I’ve been training hard in preparation for the World Junior Championships,” she said.
“I really want to go. They can only take two heptathletes and Morgan Lake has already filled one spot because she has met the qualifying standard.
“I’ve been working on my technique across all events and have also been competing in minor competitions for Wigan AC.
“I took part in the hurdling, long jump and 100m flat race in the UK Women’s League in London. I was only using it as a run-out to see how my training had gone, but I always take things competitively and I was pleased with how it went and now it is all systems go.
“I have my university exams soon as well. It is hard trying to balance the two but I’m always disciplined to work. I try to use my time as well as possible.”
McGifford is the second ranked under-20 heptathlete in the country, having made her GB debut in January after competing in the Combined Events International Indoor Match in Sheffield.
The former De La Salle pupil admits that the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will probably arrive too soon for her, but she is hoping to compete alongside British heptathlon stars Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson in years to come.
“I aspire to be like Jess and Katarina,” she said. “I see them as mentors instead of rivals and I really enjoy watching and learning from them.
“I appreciate what they do because it’s such as tough discipline.
“Katarina is relatively local to me. We’ve trained together before and I’ve also had some advice from her coach. It is quite daunting training alongside them, but I have to remember that they started at the same place as me.”