Leaping Laura's one to watch

Viv ThomasAthletics ace Laura McDonald has been doing triple jump for just six weeks but is already a record breaker.The talented 14-year-old hit a new South of England Championships record mark at Ashford recently - which is the second longest jump of all time for her age in the UK.Viv Thomas

Athletics ace Laura McDonald has been doing triple jump for just six weeks but is already a record breaker.

The talented 14-year-old hit a new South of England Championships record mark at Ashford recently - which is the second longest jump of all time for her age in the UK.

The Wymondham High School pupil, who lives in Barford and competes for City of Norwich AC, has long been recognised as a real all-rounder excelling at javelin (ranked number one in the UK), sprints, shot and hurdles. Now she's making her mark in the triple jump event.

Her dad Ian said: 'I was absolutely stunned - I didn't expect it at all. She had been doing triple jump for four weeks. I had been told she was good but I was quite flabbergasted.


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'It was her first jump in front of the main stand that drew the crowd's attention to the fact that she had just jumped to within 2cm of the championship record.

'After the first jump she had four no-jumps and she was pulling back her run-up from the take-off board.

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'On her very last jump, with the whole crowd clapping her on, Laura hit the board with absolute precision.

'An announcement over the PA system confirmed that 11.14m was not only a new championship record, but was also the second longest jump ever for the age group in the UK.'

A Norfolk sports ambassador, Laura had already competed in the shot, managing a new personal best of 10.4m to take the bronze medal, then in the 75m hurdles she ran 11.69 seconds in the heats, a time that places her as UK number eight in her age group.

The following morning saw Laura's triple jump triumph before she competed in the javelin, winning gold with 35.74m, confirming her position in the national rankings as UK number one in that event as well. This success came the weekend after Laura won six gold medals, a silver and breaking both triple jump and javelin records at the Norfolk Championships.

Her dad is quick to acknowledge the part Laura's school has played in her sporting success: 'Wymondham High School have been so helpful.

'Mrs Musgrave (the head), Ian Cook (head of house and Laura's mentor), Mrs Bean (head of PE) and Dennis Costello (coach and teacher at the school), have been brilliant.

'Laura is fortunate in having considerable backing from Wymondham High School, who have appointed a mentor to help her balance both her academic and sporting schedule - indeed her German teacher, Denis Costello, is also her triple jump coach at City of Norwich AC.'

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