Hughes ready to get javelin season up and running

LOCAL SUPPORT: Harry Hughes has been sponsored by Thurston Butchers
LOCAL SUPPORT: Harry Hughes has been sponsored by Thurston Butchers

Stowmarket javelin ace Harry Hughes will get his new season started when he competes in the European Winter Throws event in Gran Canaria this weekend.

The 19-year-old, who reached the final of the World Junior Championships last year, is making the step up from Under-20s to Under-23s in 2017.

And ahead of his season-opener, where he will be representing Great Britain, Hughes is hoping to prove himself at the higher level.

“This year is a big step up as I am entering the Under-23s age group, where the standards become a lot higher, and I am the youngest once again,” the former King Edward VI Sixth Form student said.

“Therefore the aim for myself is to be able to handle this step up and prove that I can deal with the higher standards and still hold my own.

“This is the earliest I have ever competed before, let alone at an international standard.

“So it will be interesting to see how my throwing reflects this change in training and competing so early on in the season, but I am excited.”

Hughes recently started studying for a Sport and Exercise Science degree at the University of Essex, which has added to his responsibilities away from the sport, but he is still setting his targets high after an excellent 2016 campaign.

“I finished 2016 content. I managed a big personal best of 75.46m, and carried with that many national and international wins,” he said.

“After three weeks off completely from the sport, I jumped straight back in, and the hard work began straight away.

“The training this winter has been unlike any other. Me and Mike (McNeil, his coach) have completely changed my training programme, and so far it has worked really well.

“My biggest goal will be to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in 2018 which is currently set at 77m.

“It is a big distance, especially for a 19-year-old, but it is always good to have a goal set at this standard to push myself even harder.”

Hughes has also been able to take some tips from the best javelin throwers in the world, having met and trained with the 2016 Olympic champion, Thomas Rohler, and gained some sound advice from the 2004 and 2008 Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen.