Holly wins on first GB International appearance

Last weekend Andover AC’s 16 year old star athlete, Holly Mills, gained her first GB International vest as she was selected to represent GB&NI Juniors at the Loughborough International held at Loughborough University. This annual fixture is the traditional season opener for many GB international athletes who use the event to try and achieve an early qualifying standard for the major events over the summer months. The event is an International match with teams from England, Scotland, Wales, British Universities and Loughborough University competing against the GB juniors team. Many of the athletes competing were U23 and U20 athletes but senior athletes were also competing, looking to achieve the all important qualifying standards.

 It was a fantastic achievement for Holly to be selected for the GB Team as the Juniors team consists of U20 athletes and only in exceptional circumstances do U17 athletes get selected for the team. Holly was selected for her favourite event, the Long Jump and was looking to achieve the qualifying standard for the European Youth Championships being held in Tbilisi in July. Having already jumped the 6m qualifying mark indoors over the winter and twice already in her first two outdoor meetings of the season she was looking to add to these with a good performance at this prestigious event that in the past has seen event winners go on to be Olympic Champions.

Competition was strong as several athletes were looking to achieve the qualifying mark for the World Junior Championships in July and one other athlete was looking to achieve the same standard as Holly for the European Youth Championships. Holly started with a solid jump of 5.84m in the first round and then went into the lead with a 6.21m jump in round two. With 3 other athletes jumping over 6m with the 2nd placed athlete on 6.18m the margin of Holly’s lead was small. However, this was a lead that Holly never relinquished as further jumps of 5.99m, 6.11m and 6.21m was followed by her best jump of the day and best of the season so far of 6.24m in the final round to seal victory in her first appearance as a GB International.

This was a good competition to test Holly against several of the top female Long Jump athletes in the UK and she wasn’t fazed by the occasion or the other competitors, all of whom were two years or more older than her. This result will now hopefully give Holly a good chance of being selected for the Great Britain Team for the European Youth Championships in Tbilisi in July. If selected this will be a great achievement and just reward for the hard work Holly puts in to her athletics but she also recognises that she wouldn’t be where she is today without the support and guidance given by her coach James Coney.