Louise Hazel returns from retirement to defend Commonwealth crown

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It was revealed on Wednesday (January 29) that Louise Hazel will come out of retirement to defend her Commonwealth title in Glasgow.

Hazel, 28, came away from Delhi four years ago with heptathlon gold ahead of Jessica Zelinka (Canada) and Grace Clements (England) and believes she can replicate that form in Scotland this summer.

The heptathlete quit the sport professionally at the beginning of September, 2013, but five months on and she is back in the zone.

The Birchfield Harrier told the BBC she couldn’t resist the temptation, and that the news of Jessica Ennis-Hill’s pregnancy and absence was a “game changer.”

A series of fitness tests: sprint work; shot put; long jump and gym work, confirmed Hazel’s desire to return for the Commonwealth’s and she revealed she was in better shape than she thought.

The 28-year-old stated she wouldn’t be making the comeback if she didn’t think she was capable of retaining her Commonwealth “crown,” but even with Ennis-Hill missing, there will be stiff competition for gold.

Hot on her heels will be fellow English heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson. The Liverpool Harrier finished fifth at the World Championships in Moscow and opened up 2014 in fine form, with four personal bests in four events, at the Northern Athletic Indoor Championships (January 18 and 19).

Also challenging for glory will be Canadian athlete Brianna Theisen-Eaton. The 25-year-old finished 11th at the London Olympics (16 places above Hazel), but came on leaps and bounds in 2013 to collect silver at the World Championships.

Hazel’s personal best of 6,166 points in 2011 earned her seventh place on the British all time list, but in her last major competition, London 2012, she had to settle for 27th behind team mates Ennis-Hill and Johnson-Thompson.

The Birchfield Harrier still needs to earn selection for the games, and will now begin talks with Commonwealth Games England to discuss the process.