SERENA VINCENT made a great start to 2017 with a championship best performance indoors.
The City of Portsmouth athlete produced an exceptional final throw of 14.18m to take the South of England shot put title at Lee Valley and break the competition record.
It was also the seventh best all-time indoors for the under-17 age group, having just moved up this year.
She hadn’t enjoyed the best series of throws leading up to the final round but showed great strength of mind.
Under pressure Vincent delivered her record-breaking throw and the winning margin was emphatic in the end with Chelmsford’s Jessica Hopkins second (13.08) and Southampton’s Amaya Scott third (12.69).
She said: ‘I was nervous, it’s a tough competition but I’ve been in that sort of atmosphere before.
‘Everybody had three throws and then the top six went through to have another three throws.
‘I had two no throws out of my first three so I got through with one throw in third place.
‘Then I took the lead with my fourth throw of 13.49m.
‘But I still wasn’t very happy with it, I knew the girl in second had a PB of 14.30m so the pressure was on me to increase the distance. I wasn’t safe.
‘My fifth throw didn’t go to plan either and I had a no throw for that one.
‘I’ve had this experience before when things aren’t going well in a competition and I’ve learnt how to control my nerves.
‘Some athletes might have buckled under the pressure but I know I cannot let that happen.
‘If I have bad throws I have to put it in a box and then do my next throw as it if is my first, as if nothing has happened.
‘I did that and with my last throw I pulled it out of the bag, it was a championship record by 70m.
‘The previous record was held by my City of Portsmouth training partner Gaia Osborne when she was in my age group.
‘I knew I had beaten the record because they had to call the field judge to double check the distance.
‘Then they announced it over the tannoy and I was pretty confident I had done enough with that one.
‘The aim going into the competition was to throw 14m and I worked hard to do it.’
‘I was really happy I got the win and beat the record.’
Vincent enjoyed a spectacular 2016 in the under-15 age group.
She won all the competitions including the English Schools title and the UK nationals indoors and outdoors.
Her performances saw her ranked number one indoors and outdoors, and she finished the year second on the all-time list for the age group.
Her brilliant year was capped off with her personal best throw of 14.45m in Swindon in December.
Next up will be the London Indoor Games under-17 individual championships back at Lee Valley on Saturday, January 21.
After that she will head to Sheffield for the England Athletics Age Group Championships next month.