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Harry Coppell
Coppell sails over 5.25m for a personal best and the gold medal

14 July 2013

 In the final day of action at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Harry Coppell (coach: John Mitchell) won GB & NI’s second gold medal in the pole vault, as he cleared a lifetime best of 5.25m.

Jumping in the presence of world record holder Sergey Bubka, Coppell broke his record by five centimetres to clinch gold before narrowly missing out on the championship record height of 5.30m. The 16 year old was delighted with his victory and believes that there are bigger and better things to come from him.

“It couldn’t have gone any better really – I hurt my hand attempting my last few jumps, but I’m really happy. It would have been nice to have broken the championship record, but I won the gold, and that was the main thing.

“Every jump, I could hear my teammates in the stands and Adam (Hague) was giving me advice throughout the competition, so I’m really grateful for that.

“My aim is to get to the World Juniors next year and go there for the experience as I’ll be one of the youngest.”

Coppell, who was presented the gold medal by Bubka felt the occasion was made even more special by winning gold in the home country of the world’s best ever vaulter.   

“You can see the statue and posters of him (Bubka) everywhere, so it goes to show how much the event means to the people here in Donetsk, which makes it extra special winning here.”

Joining Coppell in the final was GB & NI teammate Adam Hague (Trevor Fox), who finished sixth clearing a best height of 4.90m and was delighted with not only his performance, but seeing his teammate win the gold medal.

“I’m really pleased with my performance – it was a good height, but I wish I could have gone higher, but that’s just how it’s gone.

“It was amazing to see my teammate go higher and win these championships. The support was great for the both of us out there.”

After making his way to the final as the fastest qualifier, Thomas Somers (Geoffrey Barraclough) set his third personal best in succession in the Ukraine to finish fourth in the 200m. Somers took over 200 hundredths of a second off his 20.05 semi-final time to clock 20.84, a time which puts him 13th in the senior rankings for 2013. The 16 year old was understandably elated with his performance in the final and admitted that he has surprised a lot of people with his performances at the IAAF World Youth Championships.

“This is an experience I’ll never forget. I came to these championships as a bit of an underdog and I’ve come out fourth in the world, and you can’t beat that really. I’m just hoping to keep on improving and get quicker and quicker with the goal of getting myself in the Olympic team.

“I never thought I’d come out here and perform to the level I have. I’ve really shocked myself and a lot of other people round the world. I’d like to say thank you to my parents for getting me here, my coach training me, and the rest of the team for making it a great atmosphere in the Ukraine.

“When I was on the startline, I could hear my teammates on the other side and that gave me a big boost of energy and made me want to do better for the team.”

After a clear run through the rounds in the 200m, Shannon Hylton (John Blackie) finished in sixth place in the final, clocking a time of 23.64 in a race won by Sweden’s Irene Ekelund in a championship record time of 22.92. Despite feeling disappointed with her time, the 16 year old was pleased to have come away with the experience of competing for her country at a major championship.

“I would have liked to have got a PB, but sometimes these things happen. I’m happy to be here and the experience has been really great.

“I wanted a better time, but I made the World Youth Championship final, so I can’t ask too much more. I’m so proud to have competed for my country out here, but I guess it’s just a case of better luck next time.”

Chelsea Jarvis (David Turnbull) showed immense resilience in the 800m final to finish fifth in a time 2:07.01, in what was a fast-paced race won by Iceland’s Anitas Hinriksdottir - also a championship record time of 2:01.13.

“I’m over the moon, I just wanted to get to the final and just run with no pressure. I just got beaten on the day, but I’m happy to say I’m fifth in the world.

“I’ve been getting better through the rounds, adapting to the heat – my race didn’t really go to plan, I was planning on tracking the American who ran 2:03 in the end – it just wasn’t there today.

“It feels amazing to be wearing the GB colours – when I got my kit drop, I was so proud - I’ve never had a better day in my life.”