Montiel on right track for Commonwealths

City of Portsmouth's Emma Montiel
City of Portsmouth's Emma Montiel

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CITY OF PORTSMOUTH’s Emma Montiel is targeting Commonwealth Games glory as she continues her meteoric rise on the track.

Two years ago, the talented distance runner was competing in the likes of the Promenade 5k series and the D-Day 10k as an unattached participant.

Now, after joining Gerry North’s training group at City and enjoying success on the international stage, Montiel has a place at next year’s Commonwealths in Glasgow firmly in her sights.

A bronze medal at the Island Games in Bermuda last month for the place of her birth, Gibraltar, has given the 38-year-old the belief she can take her talents to the next level.

Her personal best time of 18mins 36.20secs earned her third place in the 5,000m out in the Atlantic and allowed Montiel to set a new national record for the British overseas territory.

Such success – her federation’s only athletics medal from the prestigious event in Bermuda – is just reward for her efforts this season, with the Gibraltarian being a key athlete in City women’s UK National League campaign.

She has also seen her times over the 5,000m drop significantly, with Montiel taking 36 seconds off her previous best this term.

The City ace still has much to do to gain the Gibraltar Commonwealth Games qualifying mark of 17.32. But she’s determined to continue her emergence in the sport and be a proud member of her home island’s Glasgow travelling party next summer.

‘I’ve got to be as realistic as possible,’ said Montiel.

‘I need to take about a minute off my 5,000m time on the track.

‘I’ve asked my coach Gerry and he said it’s not impossible, but it’s going to be very, very hard work.

‘So I can only try.

‘If it comes to fruition then fantastic. If it doesn’t, well it can still only be good for me.

‘I’ll become somewhat quicker even if I don’t achieve my goal.

‘The Commonwealth Games are something I’d never contemplated before.

‘In the distance races, you’ve got the likes of the Kenyan runners who are world class and you think “how many times will they lap you?”

‘But it would be a fantastic opportunity as an athlete. It’s the best thing you can do short of an Olympics or world championships.

‘And if it’s a realistic goal, then I will train my hardest to get to it.’

Montiel, who helped City to second place in their last Southern League match of the season on Saturday, added the past eight months had been like a whirlwind as her athletics goals have changed.

‘It was only before Christmas last year that someone from Gibraltar approached me and said “I hear you run”,’ said Montiel.

‘He said he would like to put me into the half marathon for the Island Games and, sure enough, after a while they said you’re going.

‘I was only meant to do the half marathon but ended up doing the 5,000m which I did better in after pulling out of the marathon after about 10 miles.

‘I wasn’t really expecting to do so well in the 5k. I was hoping to get a PB. Medals didn’t really enter my mind until I was actually about a couple of laps off the finish line.

‘The last 800m I thought “oh, if I stay on track I could get a bronze”, so that’s what kind of kept me going, really.

‘It was the first time I’ve ever competed in something like that.

‘I was so chuffed.’