Bernard targets World event

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SHEFFIELD high jumper Martyn Bernard will skip this year’s indoor season to focus on the World Championships – a competition he believes is a dress rehearsal for London 2012.

Bernard endured mixed fortunes in 2010, clearing a personal best of 2.29m to claim bronze at the European Championships before taking his eye off the prize at the Commonwealth Games and failing to qualify for the final in Delhi.

The 26-year-old could only manage a below-par 2.13m in Delhi and despite citing a knee problem for his sub-standard performance he was the first to admit he had taken qualification for his second major final of the year for granted. But with the Olympics now under two years away, Bernard insists nothing will distract him in the next few months as he bids to underline his 2012 medal potential by playing a starring role in Daegu this summer.

“Last year I was able to go to the European Championships and win a medal and hopefully 2011 will have something similar in store.” said Bernard, speaking at the launch of the BMW London 2012 Performance Team.

“I am going to forego the indoor season. It is the European Indoors so it is not as big as the World Indoors so I’m looking at the World Championships in Daegu and focussing on that.

“The World Championships are very important, as the best in the world will be there and if you can show everyone what you can do there it will be fantastic ahead of 2012.

“I want to go to the worlds and reach the final. Hopefully I can grab a medal – that would be amazing.”

Bernard’s bronze in Barcelona was even more impressive given the treacherous conditions in the Catalan capital that saw the Wakefield Harrier entertain the crowd with an umbrella and his very own rendition of ‘Singing in the Rain.’

n BMW London 2012 Performance Team, an initiative designed to provide Team GB and ParalympicsGB with support as they prepare for the Games. To follow the performance journey of the 25 athletes visit www.bmw.co.uk/london2012