Matthew Hudson-Smith embraces having a ‘target’ on his back in chase for triple medal haul

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Matthew Hudson-Smith has finally made his big-stage graduation now its gold he wants.

It’s eight years since he won European silver in Zurich as a teenager but it’s fair to say bold predictions of success to follow didn’t materialise.

His 400m bronze at the recent World Championships in Oregon has changed that and he justified his favourite’s status at the Commonwealth Games with a confident win in his heat at the Alexander Stadium.

He has a busy schedule in his hometown before switching focus to the European Championships in Munich, a punishing summer campaign he is determined to embrace.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster since Oregon,” he said.

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“I’ve said all year that it’s three championships and I want three medals. We’ve got a plan for that and I’m relishing the opportunity.

“I’ve got a target on my back and I’m embracing it. You’ve got to have a chip on your shoulder or you’ll be complacent. I’m just going to sunbathe in the pressure of it all.

“It’s job done, I just need to work my way through the rounds and not go crazy. I’m all about moving forward and executing my plan through every round.”

Hudson-Smith revealed he’s been avoiding home for fear of being tempted by mum Cheryls’s legendary cooking.

And admitted he’d been inspired by Christine Ohuruogu’s story. She won Commonwealth Games gold in Melbourne in 2006, winning the first of two world titles one year later and then Olympic gold in Beijing.

Ohuruogu was famously a championship performer, perhaps not always clocking eye-catching times but, more importantly, winning races when it mattered.

“I don’t care about times, people remember medals not times,” added Hudson-Smith, who won relay gold at the 2014 Games in Glasgow but suffered a shocker on the Gold Coast, disqualified in the individual event and pulling up with a hamstring injury in the relay.

“I’m inspired by Christine (Ohuruogu) in that sense. I’m all about creating some history and creating my own legacy. I don’t want to be arrogant, there’s a difference between arrogance and confidence. I’ve got expectations and a lot of goals.”

Meanwhile, Jamie Webb is determined to seize his chance after his attention-grabbing 800m heats win, he’ll be joined in the final by England’s Ben Pattison and Scotland’s Guy Learmouth.

Webb missed selection for Team England in Birmingham after falling ill at the British Championships but was drafted in following an injury to national 800m number one Max Burgin at the recent Worlds in Oregon.

And there was no time to ease himself into the Games either, after officials decided to scrap heats, meaning only the top two from three-high quality semi-finals guaranteed their final slot this weekend.

Webb duly took up the race in the final lap and crossed the line just ahead of Learmouth in a time of 1:48.86.

“Win the heat, win the final, that’s always my expectation,” said Webb. “I know I can be medalling in finals on the world stage, I just need to prove that now.

“This was the heat of death, it was a stacked with talent, and to get through that is great for confidence.

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“They made a very harsh last-minute change to the schedule, getting rid of casual heats. It’s very rare you face a field of that quality without building into the race.”

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