EILIDH Child heads to Spain this week to start her final tune-up for next month's World Championships in Moscow in good spirits after a strong performance at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games.

The Scottish hurdles specialist ran over a flat 400m in 51.83seconds to finish eighth in a race won by former Olympic and World champion Christine Ohuruogu in a season's best 50.00.

Improving her track speed was a key area highlighted when Child moved south of the border to link up with national hurdles coach Malcolm Arnold at the University of Bath.

Arnold, who guided the career of Colin Jackson and world men's 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene, is famed for uncovering that extra couple of per cent required for athletes to make the breakthrough and the relationship is showing signs of promise.

Child has raced more times on the flat this season than over hurdles, a tactic that paid dividends with a recent 54.22 personal best at the Sainsbury's Grand Prix in Birmingham.

"It was a solid race, it was under 52 seconds, which was the first aim, so I'm happy enough," said Child. "I didn't really know anyone apart from Christine, but I understand there is a real benefit to running the flat 400m.

"I'm feeling pretty good about everything. Training is good and my flat speed is pretty sharp and that's going to make me a quicker hurdler. I'm going to keep working on the speed and then focus on the hurdling, everything is coming together quite nicely, but I'm certainly not complacent."

Child has been overshadowed on the domestic scene by team-mate Perri Shakes-Drayton, who clocked a personal best of 53.67 in London to move third in the world rankings.

She will travel to Russia as one of the 61-strong British team's top medal hopes, while Child's ambitions are more understated.

"I'm fed up with semi-finals and I need to take that step up and make the final," she said. "Semi-finals last year at the Olympics, semi-finals at the Worlds in 2011, semis at the Europeans in 2010 and semis at the Worlds in 2009, it's getting a bit boring.

"Perri is obviously in great form and is right up there while Zuzana Hejnová is having a great year, but it's still a really open event."

Meanwhile Scottish teenager Jake Wightman admitted he was disappointed not to break the four-minute barrier in the Emsley Carr Mile, a historic event that counts Lord Sebastian Coe, Steve Cram and Steve Ovett among its former winners.

Wightman came home 17th in 4:00.62, but claimed the exertions of the recent European Junior Championships in Rieti, where the Edinburgh student won 1500m gold, had finally caught up with him.

His aim now will be to achieve the selection standard for next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, which would need to see him lower his 800m best by just under a second and go nearly a second-and-a half faster over 1500m.

"I just couldn't respond when the pace went upwards, I wanted to do myself justice against such a quality field, but I didn't really and that is disappointing," said Wightman, who is coached by father Geoff, who finished eighth in the 1990 Commonwealth Games marathon in Auckland.

"I would have loved to have broken four minutes here because there is a lot of history in this race and you don't run a mile on the track very often but everything just caught up with me.

"I've got a couple more meetings this year and I'm still looking for the Commonwealth Games selection standard. I know it will be tough, but it's a big motivator and competing in front of this sort of crowd just makes you want it more."

James Toney

o The Sainsbury's Anniversary Games is the final event in the Sainsbury's Summer Series. For more information on Sainsbury's support of world class athletics and disability sport go to www.sainsburys-live-well-for-less.co.uk/occasions/anniversary-games/