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Medals and Team GB call up for Holly

What a fantastic 10 day period it has been for Andover AC athlete Holly Mills. Medals at National Championships and a Team GB call up as the icing on the cake!

Holly’s first outdoor national championships of the season were the England Athletics U20 age group championships at Bedford International Stadium. Despite still being in the U17 age category Holly wanted to compete against older athletes to gain valuable experience for the future and having jumped further than many of the U20 athletes entered for the competition, she was confident of securing a medal. Her main competition was likely to come from Eleanor Broome who was closely matched with Holly last season and has just moved up to the U20 age group.

This turned out to be the case with both girls again closely matched. Both girls opened the competition with jumps of 6.11m. Mills took a slight lead with a leap of 6.12m in round 4 only for Broome to immediately follow that with 6.15m. Both girls then jumped 6.10m in round 5 and with Mills fouling in the final round Broome finished with 6.21m to take the title with Mills taking the Silver medal.

A few days later Holly then received an invitation to compete at the British Championships which were also being used as trials for the senior athletes looking to gain selection for the Rio Olympics. Normally athletes from the U20 age group and older are invited but in exceptional circumstances U18 athletes meeting certain criteria are given the opportunity to compete. This was the case for Holly and it would be the biggest competition she had ever competed at to date.

Despite being up against athletes that were used to competing on the bigger stage Holly was not overawed and was inspired by the competition. Although conditions were not ideal Holly produced a fine series of jumps with 5 of her 6 jumps beyond the 6m mark. A first round 5.71m was followed by 6.09m in round two and 6.23m in round three. Further jumps of 6.07m, 6.20m and 6.04m in the final three rounds saw Mills finish in an amazing 3rd place.

It was a proud moment for Holly when she took her place on the podium to receive her Bronze medal alongside Olympic athletes, Shara Proctor and Jazmin Sawyers.

However, the icing on the cake for Holly was receiving the call a day later to advise that she had been selected to represent Team GB at the inaugural European Youth Championships which are being held in mid July in Tbilisi, Georgia. This has been Holly’s goal for the season and with over 70 athletes achieving the qualifying standards to be selected in an elite team consisting of just 33 athletes is a magnificent achievement.

Holly said ‘I am over the moon to have been selected to represent my country at what will be my first major international championships. I’m really looking forward to what will be a great experience for me in my pursuit to become a top international athlete. A big thanks to my coach, James Coney, who has helped me achieve my first international call up’.