Biggleswade Athletic Club high jumper wins silver at tournament in Scotland

PUBLISHED: 12:14 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:15 01 August 2018

Leonie Brunning (left) on the podium. Picture: The Brunnings

Leonie Brunning (left) on the podium. Picture: The Brunnings

Archant

A Biggleswade Athletic Club high jumper has won a silver medal while representing England at the SIAB Schools’ International competition.

Leonie Brunning with her silver medal. Picture: The BrunningsLeonie Brunning with her silver medal. Picture: The Brunnings

Leonie Brunning represented her country on Saturday in Grangemouth, Scotland, and came second in a field of eight of the UK’s best young high jumpers.

The 15-year-old had qualified for the event after finishing second at the English Schools Championships a fortnight ago.

Leonie’s opening jump saw her easily clear 1.51m, but her nerves then began to hit.

“I was a lot more nervous for this competition than I had been the previous week at English Schools because it was a higher level competition – I was representing England,” she said.

Leonie Brunning in high jump action. Picture: The BrunningsLeonie Brunning in high jump action. Picture: The Brunnings

“When the competition began it was an uneasy wait for my first jump, as other athletes started at lower heights.

Thankfully I cleared 1.51m on my first go. However, 1.56m was not so easy.”

After two failed attempts at that height and on the verge of exiting the competition, she cleared it at the third time of asking – much to her relief.

“It was with relief rather than excitement with which I stepped off the bed as I knew I would have been extremely disappointed with myself to go out so soon,” said Leonie.

Leonie Brunning with her silver medal. Picture: The BrunningsLeonie Brunning with her silver medal. Picture: The Brunnings

A first-time clearance at 1.61m followed before she took three tries to jump 1.64m. At the next height of 1.67m, the field of eight thinned to three – and Leonie knew she had won a medal.

“After clearing 1.67m at the second time of asking I found new determination as I had finally put myself in a medalling position,” she said. “This was the height I most struggled with.”

This determination was crucial at the next height of 1.70m, as another athlete exited and Leonie cleared – once again at the second attempt – to find herself in the top two.

But 1.73m was too much for the exhausted 15-year-old, who had given everything to get that far.

Leonie Brunning (left) on the podium. Picture: The BrunningsLeonie Brunning (left) on the podium. Picture: The Brunnings

Scotland’s Carmen Neat cleared the bar and picked up the gold, meaning Leonie came back south of the border with the silver.

“It was a tough competition and I wasn’t entirely satisfied with my performance,” she said.

“However, I was delighted to come away with a silver medal.”

Leonie is already ranked third in the UK at youth level, and her latest performance may see her climb yet higher.

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