A number of the Southampton Throws Group were excited to take part in the first of the England Athletics pilot competitions last weekend. Having only been allowed access back into the Athletics track for training the day before the event, the athletes obviously weren’t as prepared as usual for the season opener, but still managed to start with some very positive performances.
Star of the day was hammer thrower, Anna Merritt, who has moved up to the Under 20 age-group this year and therefore had her first competition with the senior 4kg hammer. After a brilliant 2019 season, during which Anna won a silver medal at the English Schools National championships and represented England in the School’s International, she got over a few early nerves to throw a fantastic personal best of 52.19m. This throw was a new Southampton Club record in both the under 20 and senior age-groups, and would have placed Anna 10th in last year’s under 20 UK rankings.
Anna has only been able to train off a wooden board in a local farmer’s field during the lockdown period, and managed her best throw using 3 turns instead of her usual 4, which indicates that there is a lot more to come.
The pilot had a few minor issues, which will need sorting out going forwards, but on the whole it was great to be back competing again, and the events ran quite smoothly throughout the day. Hopefully as restrictions continue to be tentatively lifted, there will be other opportunities for competitions before the end of the summer season.
Debbie Callaway, Throws Coach Southampton AC