Harry Hughes immediately set his sights on his global rivals after writing his name into the history books at the Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games.
The West Suffolk athlete, comfortably ranked as the number one under-17 javelin thrower in the country – and second of all-time – had all eyes on him as he arrived in Sheffield for the last ever athletics event to take place at the Don Valley Stadium.
And the 15-year-old didn’t disappoint, giving the stadium the send off it deserved as he won gold, setting a new School Games record along the way with a best throw of 69.71 metres.
Winning has become an all too familiar feeling for Hughes this season as he has finished on the top step of the podium in all but one of his 13 javelin competitions this season.
And, with his personal best of 72.77m less than a metre short of the British under-17 record set by David Parker back in 1996, it is no surprise that the he is setting his sights high from here on out.
“I am really pleased with the gold and the School Games record because conditions were fairly tricky out there with the wind but I managed to get around it,” said Hughes.
“I wanted to get over 70m but this is my second best throw of the season so I can’t complain. This was my first School Games too and hopefully I can come back next year and improve it even further – that is the plan.
“I have had an amazing season really. I wasn’t expecting to throw anywhere near what I have. My coach and I set a target of 63m at the beginning of the season so to throw 72m is just unreal.
“I have thrown over the World Youth standard so if I throw it early next season I should go to the Youth Olympics in Nanjing – that is the main aim.
“I also want to break the British record next season and this year gives me the confidence to go and do that.”
Meanwhile there was also success for another West Suffolk athlete at the Don Valley Stadium as Michael Bartram won the 1500m steeplechase title in a new personal best.
Bartram clocked four minutes and 20.01 seconds to add to his victory in the same event at the English Schools’ Championships back in July and leave him toasting a very successful season indeed.
“I’ve been aiming for this since I won English Schools – it was the main aim of the season. It was probably even harder than English Schools and definitely my hardest race this season,” said Bartram.
“It is a good end to a good season with this and English Schools being the highlight and it sets me up well for the cross country season.”
n The Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games, which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, was held in venues across Sheffield from September 12-15, 2013. Visit www.2013schoolgames.com for more information.