Personal best with final throw gives Tara School Games gold

Date: Monday 11th September 2017
Tara Simpson-Sullivan shows off her gold medal.
Tara Simpson-Sullivan shows off her gold medal.

TEENAGAED hammer throwing star Tara Simpson-Sullivan retained her national School Games title when she secured a gold medal with her final throw of the event, held at Loughborough University.

The 16-year-old Ullswater Community College student, who was part of the England North team, took the title with a throw of 62 metres — a personal best which capped a fine season for the Penrith athlete, who tops the British rankings for her age group.

Tara said: “The pressure built, but I clearly perform under pressure! I really wanted to defend my title from last year and was hoping for a PB to finish off the season, so I’m delighted I could do that here. I have my sights set on competing internationally but I’ve just got to take each step as it comes.”

Her mother, Tracy, said: “I’m super proud of her achievements this year, especially with all the changes with coaches and the travelling to Wigan each week on top of her GCSEs, which she did amazingly well in.”

Tara is shortly to begin a course in sports coaching and fitness at Newton Rigg College, Penrith.

The School Games are an integrated multi-sport event for the UK’s most talented school-age athletes. Around 1,600 athletes competed across 12 sports, seven of which included disability disciplines.

Previous competitors include Paralympic champions Hannah Cockroft (sprinter), Ellie Simmonds (swimmer) and Jonnie Peacock (sprinter), Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty, heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, and Adam Gemili, who helped Britain’s 4x100m relay team to a gold medal at the recent World Athletics Championships in London.

The School Games are the springboard for future international athletes, with 56 of the 382 athletes representing Team GB at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio having competed at the event.

The four-day event is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.