ILLNESS may have plagued Witchampton triathlete Elisabeth Hood’s season but she is determined to come back stronger than ever as winter training approaches.

The 18-year-old was struck down with a virus at the European Championships in Lisbon in May and is still suffering setbacks four months later.

She returned to the circuit in June to record an excellent result at the Kitzbuhel Junior European Cup but struggled against the effects of the virus at August’s British Youth and Junior Triathlon Championships, which doubled up as qualifiers for the World Championships.

And while the Talbot Heath School pupil was inevitably disappointed not to have qualified, she has vowed to focus on the positives as the current season draws to a close.

“It has been quite a disappointing season but there has been some really good experiences within that,” said Hood, who benefits from being part of the SSE Next Generation programme. “For example, going to Lisbon was a great experience as it was good to go out with the team. I picked up a virus while I was out there though and it has plagued the rest of my season.

“The qualifiers for the World Championships were in Liverpool and I just did not perform because I have missed training from being ill and I have not got the fitness to meet the demands needed. But I think it is almost a blessing in disguise because I can come back for the start of the season stronger and get back to 100 per cent.”

Despite her heartache, she continues to dream of donning red, white and blue: “I really hope the Olympics are on the cards for me. It is hard to stay positive at times with the problems that I have had but I have a team around me that help me look at things.

“I have more short-term goals and things that I am aiming for at my age group. But it would be great to compete at an Olympics. It is the pinnacle of the sport so I want to make it one day.”

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