Talented teenager Niamh Emerson is celebrating the second national title of an athletics career that continues to blossom.
Niamh, who hails from Shirland and is a student at Belper School, was crowned the England U20 women’s indoor pentathlon champion at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
What’s more, the Amber Valley and Erewash Athletics Club athlete amassed an overall points’ score of 3,891, which was a personal best and elevates her to tenth on the all-time raking list for the event. Given that she is also only 16 years old, she still has a further two years of competition to go in this U20 age group!
Niamh began the tournament in the 60m hurdles and clocked a time that was just shy of her best but was still good enough to place her 12th of the 25 starters.
The high jump can always be relied upon to bring in big points, and so it was that she cleared 1.78 metres, a height she shared with world and European U20 high jump champion Morgan Lake.
That lifted Niamh to second spot going into the third event of a busy day, and although she soon slipped back to the bronze position, she still threw a terrific personal best of 10.25 metres in the 4k shot putt.
As expected, Lake held the overall lead, although this changed dramatically when she fouled her first long jump attempt and then withdrew completely from the competition.
Niamh took full advantage, producing three consistent jumps, the best of which, 5.68 metres, was just one centimetre short of her personal best. This propelled her to the top of the leaderboard, from where she never looked back.
Considering how strong Niamh is over 800 metres, her victory was never in doubt going intok the final event of the competition. Running from the front, she was never challlenged, nor indeed pushed, and she crossed the line to confirm the title.
The gold medal guaranteed her selection for the Great Britain team in an annual combined-events indoor international in Spain next month when she will line up against opponents from France and the Czech Republic, as well as the host country.
Later in the year, Niamh, who trains at the Derbyshire Institute of Sport gym, also hopes to be picked to represent Team GB in heptathlon at the European Youth Games in Georgia. Looking further ahead, the World Junior Games and the Commonwealth Games of 2018 are firmly on her radar. And ultimately, like all athletes who show as much promise as Niamh, she dreams of flying the flag for her country at the Olympic Games and World Championships.