ATHLETICS: Oxon athletes are golden girls

Emma O’Hara, a recent convert to the hammer, won gold at Gateshead

Cosima Berry moved up from fourth to first in the intermediate high jump

First published in Athletics

Abingdon's Emma O’Hara is hoping her gold medal at the Aviva English Schools Track & Field Championships in Gateshead can put her on the map of British women’s hammer-throwing.

The 16-year-old produced a best throw of 47.62m to top the podium in the inter girls hammer – over 3.22m clear of second place, but down on her personal best of 48.91m.

She was one of two Oxfordshire schoolgirls to strike gold, the other being Cosima Berry in the intermediate high jump.

With three silvers and two bronzes, Oxon won the Tonkin Cup for minor counties, for the first time since 1985.

O’Hara, a pupil at Abingdon’s Larkmead School, is a recent convert to the hammer, but is hoping the win – the most prestigious of her career – can propel her to bigger and better things.

“I am so delighted to have won the gold medal,” said O’Hara.

“I have thrown further, but it is amazing to win at a stadium, like the one in Gateshead.

“Hopefully, this gold will give me a lot of confidence but there are quite a lot of up-and-coming women’s hammer throwers, so I know I will have to get a lot better.”

Berry, who attends Tudor Hall, Banbury, but lives in Northamptonshire, equalled her personal best of 1.73m to win the intermeddiate girls high jump.

She said; “I was overwhelmed with my success . I was so happy, particularly as I’ve finished fourth for two years running.”

There was a mixed bag for javelin-throwing brothers Jackson, Freddie and Redford Curtis, from Cokethorpe School, Witney.

Oldest brother Jackson was sixth in the senior boys event, but Freddie took silver in the inter boys and Redford, 13, bronze in the junior equivalent.

Redford’s throw of 48.70m was way down on his best of 53.49m.

There were also silvers for Connie McMillan (Warriner School, Banbury) with 44.13 in the intermediate girls 300m hurdles and for Lois Waknell, who attends Cokethorpe School and runs for Radley. She recorded 12.48 in the junior girls 100m.

Christian von Eitzen (European School, Culham) came third in the junior boys 800m in a time of 2.01.23.

l The Aviva English Schools Track & Field Championships is part of the Aviva Athletics Academy which encourages and enables children to get involved in athletics. For more information go to aviva.co.uk/athletics.

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