Okoye on the up
British record holder Lawrence Okoye says he is on an "upward curve" as he aims to challenge for an Olympic medal in the discus this summer.
Okoye burst on to the scene in July last year with his record throw of 67.63 metres, which suddenly saw the Londoner - just 19 at the time - being tipped for a gold medal in London 2012.
Such talk appeared premature when the former rugby player, who has postponed an offer to study law at Oxford to pursue athletics, failed to qualify for the World Championships just a few weeks later.
But the 20-year-old has bounced back with two throws over 66m to be ranked fourth in the world in 2012, and believes he is achieving the consistency he needs to contend at the highest level.
"I'm in great shape, I've moved on a lot since last year," Okoye said after a throw of 63.57m during the Olympic test event. "I've had a good winter and warm-weather training.
"Throwing 63.57, a distance that will get into Olympic finals, is positive. We just wanted to mimic the qualification rounds so I've done what I've been asked to do so I'm pleased.
"This year I've had two 62s, a 63, two 66s; it's much better than last year. I'm on my upward curve now. I am pleased with how things are going, I'm throwing far on a regular basis and I just have to keep doing that through the season.
"I've just got to keep my head level, keep my head down and make sure I keep working."
Okoye described the discus circle at the Olympic stadium as "perfect" and believes he has an advantage over his rivals after competing at the venue before this summer's Games.
"That's the main reason I wanted to compete here. I can go home with a smile on my face," he added.
"It was really important for me just to see the circle. I can understand why you wouldn't want to come [to the test event], but for a discus thrower it's a huge advantage to actually see the circle you're going to be throwing on.
"It's not too smooth, it's not too fast or slow. You can work on the ground, you are not slipping around, it's perfect. I gain a great advantage from competing.
"But it's going to be very, very different come the Olympics. It's not full, there's only a couple of thousand people here. It's going to be very different when you have 80,000 people screaming for you."
Hurdlers Andy Pozzi and Lawrence Clarke are among those athletes hoping to experience such an atmosphere, and both boosted their chances of doing so by achieving the qualifying standard in the Olympic stadium itself today.
Pozzi defied temperatures of just seven degrees and a headwind of 1.1 metres per second to exactly match the 'A' standard of 13.52 seconds in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) championships, which is doubling as the Olympic test event.
And seven hours later, Commonwealth bronze medallist Clarke also achieved the standard with a new personal best of 13.50secs in the UK Athletics race.
Pozzi, 19, who finished fourth in the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March, told Press Association Sport: "It was very good, I was really happy.
"It wasn't quite perfect but for a first race it was what I'd hoped for. There was quite a strong headwind, so given everything I wouldn't have thought I'd run quite so quick, so I'm very happy.
"I'm really proud to be in here right now and I'm really chuffed. I was always hoping for the 'A' standard, but to get it here in the stadium where I hope to come and compete again is great."
Clarke, 22, added: "I'm really pleased. It's a good marker for the season and it takes the pressure off as everyone has to run the qualification standard.
"Things have gone a lot better since the indoors. In the indoors I was worrying too much about times and doing the time here today has taken a lot of pressure off.
"I've never run that quick, it's scary because the hurdles come so quickly! Now I just want to be in the top two come the trials."