National Indoor Champion – Holly Mills

Holly Mills’ impressive early season indoor form continued last weekend when she was crowned the England Athletics National Indoor U17 Long Jump Champion at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. Holly’s winning jump of 6.02m made her only the 4th bottom age female athlete to jump in excess of 6 metres and currently ranks Holly 9th in the world in the U17 age group and she still has another year in the age category.

Click for OptionsDespite having moved up to the U17 age group Holly was hopeful of a medal having won the U15 title last year plus she was ranked No.1 in the UK going into the event having won the South of England Indoor Championships in January with a PB jump of 5.91m. Competition was going to be tough though with last year’s U17 runner up Eleanor Broome, who had a PB of 5.93m, plus last year’s other U15 medallists in the 18 strong field.

Holly was drawn to jump immediately after Broome and having seen her opponent open with a jump of 5.74m Holly responded with 5.86m to take the lead in the competition. Neither athlete improved on these jumps in round two but Holly extended her lead at the halfway stage of the competition with a jump of 5.88m. The top eight athletes remaining in the competition then had a further three jumps to decide the medals.

There was no further improvement in round four from the leading duo of Holly and Broome who produced jumps of 5.79m and 5.74m respectively. However, in round five Broome closed the gap on Holly with a jump of 5.83m and with Lucy Hadaway also jumping 5.83m Holly needed a big jump to consolidate her position. Thriving on the competition and in determined mood Holly then produced her biggest ever and Championship winning jump of 6.02m to further extend her lead going into the last round. The final round saw Holly finish with another good jump of 5.90m whilst Hadaway move into second place with a 5.90m jump with Broome finishing third with a best of 5.83m. A great result for Holly and one that bodes well for the forthcoming summer season.

Holly was also in action the following day on the track in the 60m Hurdles where she had set herself a goal of reaching the final. With 50 athletes entered Holly was in the first of seven heats where she produced a new PB run of 8.79 in winning the heat to progress to the semi finals. Holly was in the third semi final and produced an improved PB performance of 8.70 to take her through to the final.

Holly was the only bottom age athlete in the final line up and with all the finalists posting good times in the semi finals this was going to be a close final. This proved to be the case with Holly taking 5th place in a four-way photo for 2nd place in yet another PB time of 8.66 behind the winning time of 8.51, with only 4 one hundredths separating 2nd and 5th place. This was a great performance by Holly as she improved her PB time by half a second since the start of the year.

Holly will now be focusing her attention on the forthcoming track and field season where she is looking forward to competing with senior athletes in the Southern League for Andover, whilst also competing in the Premier Division of the Youth Development League with current national champions Blackheath and Bromley AC.

There was one other Andover athlete competing at these Championships with Amy Jaramazovic taking part in the U20W 400m. With several of the leading athletes in the UK in the competition Amy knew that she would need a good run to reach the final. A 4th place finish in her heat was not enough to make the final, however, she was happy with her time of 57.61 as this was a new PB and an improvement of over a second since the start of the year. Again a performance that bodes well for the track season ahead.