After a disappointing European Junior Championships in July last year, I was set on making amends at the World Juniors in August. I was delighted, then, to put my disappointment behind me as I won the keirin title as well as silver in the sprint, and recorded a fifth place in the 500m time trial.
This was followed by three national titles in my age group for the sprint to finish the season on a real high.
My biggest achievement last year, though, was being informed while on a training camp in Majorca that I had made the Under-23 Academy programme with just two other riders, meaning that, as of November, I have been a full-time rider.
I have moved from my base in Leeds, where I had no velodrome to train at, to the fantastic Manchester Velodrome, which has every facility in place that a cyclist needs. I am now training six days a week for up to three hours a day on the track and have access to a fully equipped gym, where I train for a further two hours. I am also able to use the medical and support services at the facility.
This has made such a difference. In my first senior international competition, the Moscow World Cup in November, I made the final of the keirin and came sixth in a massive personal best time, so I have been delighted with my progress.
National Lottery funding has enabled me to become full-time, and I couldn't survive without this and the brilliant facilities here in Manchester.
I now have my eyes firmly set on the World Championships in Majorca in March. Next weekend I will compete in the Manchester World Cup, when I hope to gain enough points to be able to compete for Great Britain a month later in what would be my first major senior international event.
Anna Blyth, 18, was our second 12 for 2012 contender last yearReuse content