Smashing success as Serena gets her shot with British Athletics

Serena Vincent has had a smashing 2018.

Friday, 4th January 2019, 10:45 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 2:21 pm
Serena Vincent had a fantastic year and now has exciting times ahead

The City of Portsmouth athlete is now the all-time British under-18 record holder for the shot put.

Her highlight arrived on the biggest stage as she shone at the European Championships in Hungary with her best-ever set of throws.

She has won every national age group title going.

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The dedication, drive and determination has been rewarded.

All of the hard work along with her incredible talent has seen her marked out as one of the best young athletes in Great Britain.

Selection to the British Athletics Futures Programme has confirmed that.

In the coming months she will have access to the best facilities and get to train alongside those who have also shone across various events in athletics.

It is exciting times.

She said: '˜It's amazing to think I have thrown further than any other under-18 athlete in the UK has ever thrown. I take a lot of pride from that.

'˜When I was in the under-13 and under-15 age groups I looked up to the under-18s and thought 'wow, I wish I could throw that far'.

'˜Now I have reached their age and I am throwing further than they did.

'˜I have now got a full set of records and titles. Regional and national level. It's been a great year.'

Vincent, who turned 17 in December, took great pride from the way she was able to perform on the big stage.

You have to be able to produce your best when it really counts.

She did exactly that in the European Championships finishing fourth with a new personal best of 16.84m.

It was the competition that really proved her credentials.

The strength she gained from her disappointment of not being able to show her top form in the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas in 2017 also served as a big factor.

She added: '˜I think it was really my performance in the European Athletics Championships that showed them what I can do.

'˜It was the greatest competition I have been in. It was the peak of my career so far. I was over the moon with my performance. British Athletics recognised it.

'˜This was a great experience. I came away with lots more friends. Unfortunately also an injury but I am completely recovered now.

'˜As an athlete you hit the hurdles but you have to get back up and over them. I've managed to get over my injury really quickly.

'˜To break the all-time under-18 record was fantastic and I broke it three or four times in the competition.

'˜When I went to the Bahamas in 2017 for the Commonwealths it was my first international.

'˜Lots of things happened, external factors I couldn't control.

'˜So much went wrong. Now I look back and think I was lucky everything went wrong in that one competition.

'˜I now know how to handle these situations.

'˜When I went to Hungary I was so determined. I never want to feel like I did in the Commonwealths. I was so determined for the Europeans.

'˜I had huge motivation to succeed and it went really well. I'm so grateful for that.

'˜That competition was the best series of throws I had ever put together.

'˜I finished fourth and I was the first British athlete. I went into it ranked fifth in Europe and I came out of it being fourth.'

A total of 26 athletes have been selected for the Olympic Futures Programme, supported by Nike.

It aims to highlight athletes who have the potential to win medals at future Olympic Games, World and European Championships, and those that have the potential to progress onto the World Class Programme (WCP) in the next cycle.

World Junior (under-20) Championship 200m and hammer gold medallists respectively, Jona Efoloko and Jake Norris, head the Olympic Programme.

The group is packed full of young athletes who have already made a big impression on the global stage.

British Athletics will be hoping the programme will put in place the ground work to help ensure the best chance of going on to replicate these successes at senior level.

Serena is looking forward to linking up with the best prospects in the country across all different disciplines.

She added: '˜I know a few of the athletes from some of the international teams. Some from competing alongside them in the Bahamas at the Commonwealth Youth Games and some from the Europeans.

'˜It's nice to have a group of friends you already know and it's also good to expand that more. '˜There will be quite a few I don't know and so it will be good to get to know them and see what they do in training.

'˜These athletes are the best in their events. It's a really good, talented group.

'˜Everyone deserves to be there. I think to be able to have that many people on the scheme shows the strength we have in Great Britain.

'˜We are bringing athletes through and that is a good thing for the future of athletics, there is a positive feel around British athletics.'

Serena has paid tribute to the support and help she receives from her coaches and her City of Portsmouth training partners.

She said: '˜My coach Bronwin Carter is amazing. She got the award for the British Athletics national coach of the year. She really helps me.

'˜The training group is so supportive of me.

'˜I had my GCSE exams I had to prepare for in 2018. The exams fell around the same time as the major competitions for me and when I made the GB team.

'˜Without my training group I don't think I would have been able to do it.

'˜They kept me calm.

'˜It is so important to have the support network and you know you can rely on them to help you through.

'˜My training is going really well. The selection to the programme shows the things I have been doing with my coaches have been right and I need to stick to doing that.'