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Interview: Hannah England

Middle-distance runner Hannah England, 25, talks sexism, pre-race nerves and keeping calm with a spot of knitting

With our Fair Game crusade against sexism in sport in full swing, one thing’s certain: It’s not lack of talent that means women aren’t getting the media coverage they deserve. Case in point: Hannah England who, after winning silver in the 1,500m at the World championships in Daegu last year, has her sights on bettering that with a shiny gold to add to team GB’s Olympics Medal Haul.

Stylist sits down with one of the UK’s most exciting sporting talents…

Why do you think sportswomen get less coverage than men?

I think the day-to-day problem is that most journalists only cover predictable stuff. They’d rather give space to a men’s third division football game before covering a female Team GB canoeist. It also doesn’t help that sport still has a predominantly male audience, but you don’t know which one came first, it’s a chicken and egg scenario.

How do you think the problem can be solved?

If they took the time to speak to female athletes, they’d uncover some really interesting and inspiring stories. Take the olympics; we’ve got some really good women coming through in athletics like sprinter Jodie Williams and pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale. At the other end of the spectrum we’ve got great distance runners like Helen Clitheroe and Paula Radcliffe, who have been around for a long time but are still performing at a really high level and inspiring people.

ABOVE: Hannah (far left) competing in the women's 1500 metres at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, Korea.

How are you preparing for the Olympics?

At the moment I run about 12 miles a day and head to the gym every lunchtime. I’ve also been doing lots of altitude training in places like Kenya and the Pyrenees mountains in France. Because I spend so much time outside I’ve signed up as an ambassador for Garnier Ambre Solaire’s Team GB suncare products. The worst thing i can do in my training is get sunburnt.

What do you do to take your mind off training?

I love to knit. It’s a great distraction and you feel like you’ve done something productive at the end.

Do you have any advice for dealing with nerves?

If I’m getting caught up about something, I find writing it down useful – you look at it and go, ‘Why am I even worrying about that? It’s pathetic.’ You can build things up to such massive proportions in your head that taking a step back from it really helps.

Garnier Ambre Solaire has launched two official Team GB products: Clear Protect +SPF 30 and Moisturising SPF 30. Available nationwide

Picture credit: Rex Features