200m star Maya Bruney (coach: Matthew Thomas; club: Blackheath & Bromley) wants to replicate her European Under-20 Championship success at this summer’s European Under-23 Championships in Gävle, Sweden.
Bruney starred for the British team in Grosseto, storming to victory in the 200m and adding bronze medals in the 4x100m and 4x400m to her collection, helping Great Britain & Northern Ireland to second on the medal table, amassing 19 medals.
Off the back of her first official warm weather training camp in Jamaica, and under the guidance of a new coach in the form of Matthew Thomas, Bruney is heading into the new season feeling refreshed and optimistic of more success in 2019.
She said: “I came away from Jamaica feeling faster and stronger and I’m getting back into training in London’s less-warm conditions, which has taken a bit longer than I anticipated. I thought I would be able to do a little bit better at BUCS but having said that, it’s still early in the season.
“The main thing is that I’m healthy and in shape to qualify for the Under-23 Championships. I’d want to do the 200m, the 4x100m and the 4x400m if we are lucky enough to have both relay teams to the Under-23 Champs, so I might double up at trials.
“2017 still leaves me speechless thinking about it and when I watch my race back it gives me goose bumps but there was a lot of hard work behind it. Going into the champs, I knew I had to take every opportunity and I really wasn’t expecting to medal. The times were chopping down in perfect conditions and I want to repeat that success this year.”
As well as gaining attention on the track, away from it, Bruney is making a name for herself as a designer. At the age of just 21, she has already designed and worked on video campaigns for Puma and music artists, alongside launching her own company, ‘In The Event Of A Fire’.
Graduating from BRIT School with an Excellence in Design award, she gained more attention last year, designing a coat inspired by D.H. Lawrence’s ‘The Rainbow’, that secured her a meeting with Penguin Publishing’s brand director, Sam Voulters.
She feels that her passion for design complements her athletics and gives her an opportunity to showcase her creative flair in both areas.
“Design has opened a whole new door for me in terms of creativity and how far you can push design in anything. Florence Griffith Joyner was one of the reasons I started athletics because of how she brought fashion and style to athletics along with her performances.
“Athletics to me is an art form. It’s movement in a pattern and in a weird way it can be classified as a design. People think ‘how do they go together?’ but you look at sports brands in particular and they’re always trying to find the cutting edge in design to make the human run faster and jump higher and throw further, they definitely go hand in hand.
“I went into design because I’m dyslexic and as a child, reading was frustrating. When it was my turn to read in class, I would make up the story and get sent out. Fashion and graphic design appealed to me because of the visual expression. I thought it was really cool and then it became about how could I link that to athletics,” she added.
Bruney is now in her second year on the British Athletics Olympic Futures Academy Programme, which supports athletes that have the potential to medal at future Olympic and Paralympic Games, World and European championships.
Thanks to the programme, she is able to effectively track her progress as she continues through the age groups and feels that the support the programme offers will continue to aid her progress as she moves towards the senior ranks.
“To have an athlete only location where we can do our speed and strength testing and then have the chance to talk to sports psychologists, physios and nutritionists is massive. The test results are a really big thing for us to keep track of because we don’t all have access to that technology at our clubs and to go to have that information is really useful.
“It also gives us the chance to compare the data to where we were last time we had it done. Loughborough has a quick indoor track and that will add a little advantage for testing but going towards 2020, monitoring those reports is really important.
“Last season when I went out to Geneva, I picked up a little injury but because of the Futures Programme, the next day I had access to an MRI scan and that injury was addressed the next day. I had the help and support I needed and within a month-and-a-half I was able to run again, which is insane.
“Normally, a Grade 2 hamstring tear would take a lot longer than that to heal but because of Futures and having access to medical support and that scan, the turnaround in results was less than 48 hours. That’s exactly what developing athletes need and I’m very fortunate to have it,” she added.
Bruney’s next big goal on her journey is the chance to represent her country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games but knows she will have to push herself to the limit to get there given the competition she will be up against.
Despite that, she feels that she is more than ready for the challenge ahead and is looking forward to having the opportunity to push herself against some of the very best sprinters that the country has to offer.
She said: “To get there would mean the world but everyone is trying to get there. A friend of mine said that if you make the Olympic team, you are part of such a small percentage of people in the world. Being an Olympian makes you the symbol of hard work and sacrifice.
“It does add the pressure though because once you’re in the Olympics, you have to try and get a medal, you just have to, relay or individual event, you have always got to be aiming for more.
“Making the team wouldn’t be enough for me, there’s so many athletes trying to make the team and you can’t settle for just getting there. The 200m is a ridiculously stacked event and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.”