Hylton hoping to get career firmly on track
PUBLISHED: 18:00 03 May 2019
At just 22 years of age Great Britain athlete Shannon Hylton has already achieved much on the track, but her rivals should beware as her very first full-time season is now impending.
Hylton, who narrowly missed out on making the World Championship 200m semi-finals in London two years ago, is in her final year of studies at the University of East London – constantly juggling the twin goals of a biomedical sciences degree and an athletics career.
The Blackheath & Bromley Harrier has certainly had success on the track, taking the British 200m title in July 2017 and racing to gold as part of the 4x100m relay team at the inaugural London Athletics World Cup last summer.
All this while training six days a week and striving for educational excellence has been a challenge, as she attests.
“I handed in my dissertation, it feels like a lifetime ago now,” said Hylton. “It was really interesting, on transplant rejection and I did 10,000 words.
“When I looked at my schedule some days it was tough. When I had lab for my dissertation I was out of the house at 7.30am and then not home until 9pm on a Monday.
“Three-hour lecture, gym, then lab from two until God knows what hour! That was very full-on so I'm very happy to finish my dissertation, it was so time consuming and really hard, I don't know how I managed to finish it!
“But I wanted to do well in both uni and athletics so I had to put my head down.”
Hylton, who trains alongside current 100 and 200m European champion Dina Asher-Smith, now just has a few exams to go and will no longer have to pack those revision notes for athletics competitions, inevitably finding more time to focus.
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With the season warming up the Londoner is heading to a Diamond League meet in Doha before competing at the British Universities & Colleges Sport Outdoor Championships in Bedford this weekend.
She added: “I'm quite sad to leave uni I think, I'm not enjoying the stress right now but I think I'll really miss it.
“Then after I've finished and graduated it's just going to be full-time on the track.
“It was always in the back of my mind, spending more time on the track and on recovery – I feel like it can have a massive effect on your body.
“A lot of athletes I know found when they finished uni they saw a bigger benefit in terms of recovery and performance, I want to give my body that chance.”
A year of full-time training is just around the corner but Hylton is also maintaining the long-term goal of specialising in neuropsychopharmacology or immunology at some stage.
Before then, further successes on the track no doubt await, where she'll not only be boosted by the lack of dissertations but also with an injury-free winter under her belt.
She said: “It's probably the first time in four years where I've not been injured in winter training, I've not had to miss weeks or months over the winter so I'm quite happy.
“My goal now is to qualify for the World Championships in Doha, and with performance my other aim is just to be healthy and have a good season where I don't miss time due to training or injury.
“Long term everyone wants an Olympic medal, to win the Olympics! I want medals and I want to be competitive, but I also don't want to ever stop loving the sport.”