Amber Valley and Erewash Athletics Club’s Niamh Emerson confirmed herself as one of the country’s up and coming female multi eventers with an astonishing weekend of success at the England Athletics U15 and U17 Combined Events Championships in Bedford.
She took national and Northern silver medals in the U17 womens heptathlon over a weekend that included huge improvements in many of the seven disciplines.
Irish athlete Elizabeth Moreland led from the first event and finished with 5,062 points, with Liverpool Harrier Anna Rowe just 70 points ahead of Niamh in second. However the Irish girl’s scores did not count towards the British national results, which was why Niamh picked up a silver medal rather than a bronze.
Her overall points score of 4,921 was a personal best by almost 500 points and puts her eighth on the UK’s all-time list for the event, and remarkably just one place ahead of Olympic champion Denise Lewis at the same age.
Niamh began the competition with a solid run in the 80m hurdles for fifth place overall. Even though a big personal best of 9.36m came in the shot, she dropped to tenth. After the disappointment of a below par high jump at the English Schools Championships four weeks ago, normal service was resumed as she cleared 1.73m to climb up to third place overall. Another personal best followed to close the first day, as she ran 26.15 in the 200m, almost half a second taken off her previous best.
Her second day opened with a personal best in the long jump of 5.33m, despite the best efforts of ex-Hurricane Bertha bringing high winds and torrential rain across the middle part of the day.
Niamh’s javelin was the event that left her family and coaches pleasantly stunned as she launched two throws over 29m, a huge improvement in the short space of time in which she has been working on this new event. Still in third place, she went into the seventh and final event of the weekend, the 800m, knowing that she could not be dislodged from third place being so far ahead of fourth, yet not able to close the gap on second without Rowe having a poor run, which as an accomplished 800m runner she did not.
The English Schools Combined Events Final at the end of September is Niamh’s next big multi-events test and is likely to be a medal contender again despite still being in the first year of the U17 age group.