Eilidh Doyle: Olympic funding 'takes pressures off' pregnant athlete

By Heather DewarBBC Scotland
Could Eilidh Doyle run at the Olympics after giving birth in January?
Doyle says competing at a third Olympic Games would be "incredible", but admits her future is uncertain

Eilidh Doyle says confirmation of her Olympic funding is "massive" as she considers a swift return to athletics after pregnancy.

The 32-year-old 400m hurdler and husband and coach Brian are expecting their first child in January.

Having collected a 4x400m bronze at Rio 2016, she has been included in the relay funding category by British Athletics for Tokyo next summer.

"It gives you the freedom to be a full-time athlete," said Doyle.

"I don't have to worry about how am I going to get money, balance training with a job or what if I'm injured, paying for treatment or surgery or rehab every week. It just takes those extra pressures off your shoulders."

Doyle, who also ran at London 2012, says competing at a third Olympic Games would be "incredible", but admits her future is uncertain.

"There will be challenges but we've got a plan in place to get back racing again next year," she said. "That will all be 'what ifs', how the pregnancy goes and what happens when the baby is here, but it is nice to have the security to look ahead. It also helps with motivation and commitment.

"I just don't want it to mean my career is over because I love competing, training. It's nice to start a family but not close the door on athletics.

"But whether I will feel that way when the baby is here, whether I'll want to go away and race, whether mentally and physically I can, that's all up in the air.

"The way I feel right now is good and the plans are geared towards giving me the best possible chance to come back and be competitive."

Doyle is joined by 12 other Scots on the funding list, with Laura Muir, Callum Hawkins, Jake Wightman and Lynsey Sharp in the podium category.

"It just shows we're in a really really good place," added Doyle. "Looking back to Rio, we've had our biggest selections across the board, we've been hitting higher numbers than in previous Championships. You can see the pattern, numbers rising - making global finals and not just making up the numbers."

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