Interview: Team England athlete Kelly Massey

Team England 400m runner and 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Kelly Massey speaks to Sports Mole about her chances at the 2014 Games in Glasgow.

Team England's athletics squad will go into this summer's Commonwealth Games on a high following their incredible success at the London Olympics two years ago.

The likes of Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford won the hearts of the nation in what was arguably the most memorable day of the hugely successful Games.

Fast-forward two years and another major multi-sport event is taking place on British soil, with Glasgow hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Kelly Massey at the 2010 Commonwealth Games© Getty Images

Team England's 400m and 4x400m relay runner Kelly Massey has past experience of success at the Commonwealths having won silver in Delhi four years ago, and she is determined to go one better this time around.

"I won silver at the 2010 Commonwealths as part of the relay. In terms of the individual event I am aiming to get to the finals this time. Our relay team is a lot stronger, but then so is everybody else's. But we're going for the gold this year," she told Sports Mole.

While, under the banner of Team England, Massey and co will not be performing in front of a home crowd, the fact that the event is taking place so close to home is a boost compared to four years ago.

Scotland and England have a long-standing rivalry with each other, so the English athletes can perhaps be expecting a little more negative reaction than they received at the Olympics two years ago.

However, Massey is confident that the location will still prove to be an advantage for the squad, especially as there is still excitement around the sport following the London Olympics.

"I think [it will be an advantage], yeah. We're used to the weather here so that's definitely an advantage over the Jamaicans and those from the hotter countries. Hopefully it being so close to home will mean that a lot of our supporters will be travelling there as well. I know my mum and my nan will up there! We should have the crowd behind us as well," she said.

"[London's success] definitely plays a part, there has been huge interest. You can tell that by the trials and the grands prix across the country, so I think that's definitely helped the interest in getting the public to come and watch it."

Kelly Massey takes the baton during the women's 4x400m semi in Helsinki on June 30, 2012© Getty Images

Massey goes into the Games in decent form having clocked a number of personal bests already this year - including an indoor one in Glasgow - and she believes that she can improve on her current 400m record of 52.29s this summer.

"I am aiming for that 51s, and I know it's in there. I've just not quite put my race plan together when the time matters. Hopefully that's where I'll get it, in Glasgow," she added.

With a time of 52.67s in the Glasgow Grand Prix earlier this month, the 29-year-old remains a little bit off her target pace as things stand. However, she is confident that the experience of the Grand Prix will stand her in good stead for when the Games themselves come around.

"That was huge. It helped me get aware of where the call-up rooms are, how far they are, I know where we'll be dropped off, I know what the track is like, so that's been massively beneficial doing that. The more you prepare the better you perform on the day," she said.

Of course, the Commonwealth Games are very different to the normal championships that athletes take part in. Competitors will stay in the Athletes' Village, rubbing shoulders with new faces from a variety of different countries and sports.

It is something that Massey has past experience of, and she revealed that she was very excited about returning to such an environment.

"I love it. The difference between the Games and just a normal championship where it is just athletics and you tend to be in a hotel, when you're in a purpose-built accommodation, it's brilliant. Walking round it's quite fun to just guess what the person does because there are so many different sports there," she said.

Kelly Massey winning the 400m women's final in Birmingham on June 29, 2014© Getty Images

On the track, the traditional running powerhouses of Jamaica are likely to be Team England's main rivals in their quest for a gold medal, and Massey is wary of the threat they will pose.

"They've got massive strength in depth, particularly in the track events. Nigeria are always quite strong [as well], they've got Regina George and she's running quite well this year. They're the main competitors," she said.

Team England's athletics squad managed seven golds and 26 medals overall in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, a tally that left them third in the medal table behind Australia and Kenya.

With a better performance expected this time around given the proximity of the host nation, Massey is confident that they can improve upon the 2010 medal haul, but warns that Team England were not the only ones to have moved forward since Delhi.

"I think the team is stronger as a whole than what it was in Delhi, [but] it is the same as everybody else. Everybody else has got better as well so it's going to be tough with the others, but I think we can improve on that [2010 medal haul]," she added.

Massey will take part in the 400m and 4x400m relay events in Glasgow, and you can follow the events with Sports Mole.

Mo Farah celebrates after winning gold in the Men's 10000 metres final at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow on August 10, 2013
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