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Sharp prefers to let her running do the talking

IT was the biggest story in the world yesterday and Lynsey Sharp was as nonplussed as everyone else to learn that Oscar Pistorius had been charged with murder.

She had tweeted to that effect earlier but, by the time we spoke, you would have thought the police had caught and gagged her.

"We've been told not to comment on it, because it is a criminal investigation now," said the 800 metres Olympian. Quite how Sharp could jeopardise a murder inquiry in South Africa is only clear to the ATP, especially as this bright 22-year-old has a law degree from Edinburgh Napier University and presumably knows when not to overstep the legal boundaries.

Left to her own devices Sharp is happy to speak openly, but mostly she prefers to do her talking on the track. She will take to it again tomorrow for a rare indoor appearance in the Birmingham Grand Prix that is likely to be her second, and last, of the season.

Life has changed a lot for the daughter of Cameron and Carol Sharp recently. She has parted company with her coach of two years, Dave Sunderland, and also moved her base from Edinburgh to Loughborough, albeit that she will still spend time in the Scottish capital.

Sharp has decided to move south to further her career, and not just because jobsworths at Meadowbank Stadium often added stress to her training regime. At Loughborough, she will team up with Terrence Mahon, the American who was hired three months ago as UK Athletics' new national coach for distance running.

"People are surprised at the move because they say I ran well last year and they wonder why I felt the need to change coaches and move to Loughborough," she admitted. "But I just felt there were certain things that I needed to change to improve me, and one of those was having a group to train with. When I heard Terrence was coming to the UK and bringing a couple of the American girls with him it seemed like the perfect opportunity to push me on a bit.

"I had a good chat with Dave. Leaving a coach is never a nice thing to do, but sometimes athletes have to do it. It's almost as bad as ending a relationship, but this is a career move for me and I had to be a bit selfish. I felt I knew what I needed and had to act on it.

"Terrence has brought over Morgan Uceny [the fastest women's 1500m runner in the world in 2011] and Anna Pierce, who has run 1.58.8 for 800m and went to Beijing for the 3000m steeplechase. His wife, Jen Rhines, has run in three Olympic Games.

"I was impressed by the times Anna and Morgan have run. I felt I needed a group working environment instead of me having to do sessions on my own. We meet at 9am every day, do a run together, then conditioning stuff, and I'm really enjoying it."

Last month, Sharp made a dummy run for Celtic's Efe Ambrose by returning from Africa and competing in the East End of Glasgow before the effects of the journey had worn off. She had been with other British middle-distance runners at an altitude training camp in Kenya and had to endure a 36-hour passage home which left her with little time to prepare for the British Athletics International Match at the recently opened Emirates Arena.

Fortunately, for Sharp the meet was of significantly less import than the Champions League, but she said: "I didn't realise until after running how much it had taken out of me; it took me a week after that to feel normal."

The European silver medallist, nevertheless, was thrilled with the new facility, and believes anticipation is starting to build for the Commonwealth Games, at which she and fellow athlete Eilidh Child could be the centre of attention. The overall Scottish prospects, which have looked gloomy for some time, also look rosier following a haul of nine medals, including three gold and an indoor Scottish record for Child, at the UK Indoor Championships last weekend: the best haul for 18 years. "The medal tally included a lot of young athletes, which is great, and Eilidh ran really, really well," enthused Sharp. "It's looking good for 2014.

"Last month was also the first time I'd seen the Emirates Arena – it's such an improvment on the Kelvin Hall. To see it filled with 5000 fans was amazing; it's weird to see Glasgow like that. It's usually football, but now people are getting excited about the Commonwealths."

Sharp's main focus in 2013 will be the world championships in Moscow, but 2014 is looming larger in her mind and not least because she can't get over a feeling of anti-climax about the London Olympics, where she finished seventh in her 800m semi-final.

"My highlight last year was the Europeans rather than the Olympics," she confirmed. "The Olympic thing was tainted by all the controversy over my selection and I couldn't really enjoy it, which was really sad.

"It was my home Olympics and my first one. It was amazing, it really was, but when I think about it I have a negative feeling. I'll just have to make another one."

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