Serena Vincent fought off some powerful rivals to maintain her excellent form by winning the ISF World Schools Championship Under-18 title in Croatia.
The City of Portsmouth shot put star took the prestigious title with a stunning final round throw of 16m 79cm.
She’s made a habit of producing her best efforts when the chips are really down and is able to keep her cool in intense competition.
This latest success, representing England, saw the 17-year-old add to her excellent achievements already this year having won the indoor national title, the Hampshire under-20 title outdoors and the Home Countries international in Wales among other competitions.
Her dad and coach Andrew Vincent made the trip to Croatia with Serena and he explained it was a real battle for her to get the gold against some fierce internationals rivals.
He said: ‘Serena faced some excellent competition from all corners of the world from Australia to Brazil, Chile to Slovakia. Her main competition on paper was a girl from China who had a PB just 4cm behind her. A physically huge thrower with immense power. Another girl from Chinese Tapei looked extremely capable also.
‘But it was a Slovakian girl who on the day pushed Serena the hardest. Serena competed against her last year in the Under-18 European Championships and earlier this year in the Under-23 championships in Samorin, Slovakia. Serena’s win in Croatia made it three out of three head-to-head wins.
‘The competition was tight with good conditions, albeit the circle was very slow, which favoured the power throwers over the speed throwers. But a 16m 50cm opener settled her and she finished with a huge 16m 79cm to take the title.’
After the event the medal ceremony was held on Saturday in a gala presentation in Trigor, where the team rankings are also determined.
The event overall was a great experience for Serena.
Dad Andrew added: ‘This competition is the pinnacle of the schools’ athletics system. It is a two-tiered system with school teams that have won through to the world finals and also selected teams from the best athletes in the country in the chosen events.’
The big work ahead now with her coaching team, led by Bronwin Carter, is gearing towards the European Under-20 Championships in Sweden in July.
This will be her next major international mission.