Team GB Olympic hopeful Jeanette Kwakye consumes a diet of superfoods to keep her speed up
Being the sixth fastest woman in the world is a full-time job, nutrition-wise, particularly when it's just two weeks until crucial trials that will decide whether you're in or out of Team GB for the Olympics.
Sprinter Jeanette Kwakye was the first British woman in 24 years to compete in an Olympic 100-metre final when she ran at Beijing in 2008, placing sixth. Now she's hoping to get a chance to run for her country on home ground this summer.
Kwakye took some time out from training this week to help with the P&G Clean Up campaign - helping tidy up London in advance of the onslaught of visitors next month. And she found a few moments to talk to us too.
'It's two weeks until the trials so I'm starting to really fine-tune my diet. I'm cutting out anything that doesn't help my performance, and focusing on eating foods that give me the power to run fast and keep my immune system healthy. I am fuelling to function.'
Race weight for Kwakye is 58kg - just a couple of kilos lower than her usual weight. 'If you get too lean, you get ill,' she says. 'I need to eat foods that give me that blast of power when I come off the blocks.'
Her sprint superfoods? High protein meals including lean chicken, mackerel, plus pulses, beans and berries.
'I like trying new foods and combinations,' Kwakye says. 'But right now is not the time to experiment for me. You have to be familiar with your diet and know how it affects you and your performance. I'm not a Usain Bolt who'd eat chicken nuggets before a big race. No way!'
As well as fine-tuning her diet, Kwakye is also working on the mental techniques that allow her to perform at her best. So what's her pre-race routine?
'My coach and I sit down together and have a pep talk before warming up. Then when I'm in the cool room, I choose one thing and work on it; that might be my arms or legs, doing stretches and some warm-up moves. It gives me a chance to focus my mind before I'm on the track.'
Kwayke was a consultant on the summer of sport-inspired Brit flick Fast Girls, helping the cast get in shape with body conditioning, running technique and relay practice.
Her main goals right now?
'My No1 goal is to make the team. It's all well and good being an Olympic hopeful, but I so want to make the final line-up and represent my country on my home ground. The Beijing stadium was bigger, but I just know the noise in London is going to be like nothing I've ever heard before. The home crowd is going to make it amazing.'
As part of the P&G Capital Clean Up, Jeanette Kwakye took part in the Ariel Big Sprint, a capital-wide clean up challenge to make London stainless in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games. There is still time to sign up for one of the clean up events taking place across London at www.pgcapitalcleanup.com
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