COUNTY junior international 800m runner Loren Bleaken has switched to top British sprints and hurdles coach Malcolm Arnold, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The 18-year-old has made the move to Arnold, who lives in Broughton Gifford, having decided that her future lies with the 400m and possibly the 400m hurdles.

Arnold is one of the world’s leading coaches at the hurdles – and was last year appointed lead hurdles coach at UK Athletics – having guided the careers of Colin Jackson and Dai Greene.

Marshfield’s Bleaken is relishing the opportunity of furthering her career under his guidance.

“I have been with Adrian Clover for six years so it is sad to move but I feel it is the right thing to do,” said the ex-Hardenhuish School pupil.

“Adrian is not a full-time coach as he has many other commitments with work and family but I felt it would be better for me if I want to progress to move to another coach and Adrian completely agreed with me.

“I want to focus more on the 400m this year and having had a go at the hurdles last year want to give that more of a go as well so I approached Malcolm and he is now setting my training and we will see how it goes.”

Bleaken moves to Arnold on the back of a very successful 2013 campaign.

She finished the season third over both 400m and 800m in the UK rankings for U20 women, improving her personal best in the former to 54.66secs and qualified to run the 800m at the European Junior Championships, though was disappointed not to progress beyond the heats.

“2013 was very good to me and a big learning curve,” said Bleaken. “My 400m went very well and I improved a lot. If I am going to give the 400m a real go then it has to be now because as you get older your speed decreases.

“I am really enjoying my training under Malcolm. I am surrounded by Olympic and World Championship athletes and that is amazing and I can’t help but learn from watching what they do.’’