It may be her final season in UK athletics for the foreseeable future but Emma Gilmore is refusing to go quietly.
The determined 17-year-old started her 2012 track campaign with a bang.
A fierce battle with Emma Le Conte, of Guernsey, ensued on the home straight of the under-20 women’s 400m final at the Mountbatten Centre.
But it was Gilmore, who leaves England to study in America later this year, who won the spectacular tussle in a time of 58.99secs.
And it’s just the beginning of what she hopes will be a memorable summer.
She said: ‘I’m off to university in Kentucky, so I’d love to have a good, fast season before I go.
‘It is really exciting and I want to make the most of my last season here.’
The tenacious City of Portsmouth athlete – an 800m runner by trade – has been battling a frustrating injury, in the form of a stress response in her hip.
Gilmore said: ‘I had the injury throughout the winter. It came and went but hopefully it has gone for the time being.
‘The past month has been a bit hit and miss.
‘I was hoping for the win but I definitely wasn’t expecting it.
‘I am pleased with the way I executed the race and over the moon with my time as well.
‘My coach said “take the first 200m steady and start kicking after the 200m point”. That’s what I did and it went okay.’
Victoria Hewitt, of the University of Portsmouth, finished second in the senior women’s 400m in a time of 58.80.
Gilmore went on to finish second in the 800m yesterday.