Awesome Elise wins top national title

Elise Lovell struck gold in the long jump in Sheffield.
Elise Lovell struck gold in the long jump in Sheffield.
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Athletics ace Elise Lovell capped a wonderful winter season by triumphing at a top national competition.

The Hastings Athletic Club multi-eventer won the women’s long jump at the BUCS Indoor Championships 2017 last weekend representing Brighton University.

She said: “To me this is a big one. It’s the second time I’ve done BUCS and the last time I was nowhere near the standard to get a medal so it meant an awful lot.”

Lovell has often exceeded her own expectations at major competitions in the past, but on this occasion she had to cope with the pressure of being fancied to do well.

“Going into it I was ranked number one based on what everyone else had jumped this season,” continued Lovell, who said she went into the event at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield targeting a medal.

“There was that expectation from the university, from the coach, from peers and things like that, and I think that expectation got to me during qualification.”

Despite feeling in really good form beforehand, Lovell took three jumps to achieve automatic qualification from the pools on Saturday. Her best leap of 5.78m was the third longest in the qualification phase.

Lovell admitted that her slightly off-colour performance on Saturday left her very nervous heading into Sunday’s final, but she managed to focus on the job in hand and regain her usual form.

The 24-year-old came out on top with a furthest leap of 5.88m (just eight centimetres shy of her indoor personal best set at the previous weekend’s British Indoor Championships) set in the third of six rounds.

Lovell finished seven centimetres clear of runner-up Mary Elcock (Loughborough) and produced two other jumps in excess of 5.80m in a consistent display.

She led throughout the final from the very first round of jumps and said that she’d never looked at the scoreboard so much during a competition.

Lovell’s long jump success followed on from a terrific display in the 60m hurdles last Friday. After coming through the heats and semi-finals, she achieved a fine fifth place finish in the final, despite being up against a stronger field than at the British Championships.

“I was really pleased to have got to the final and to run consistently,” said Lovell, who clocked times of 8.64, 8.60 and 8.67 in the three stages of the event.

Last month Lovell helped the GB senior women’s team finish runners-up in the Combined Events International Indoor Match in Prague having previously achieved a superb second place in the women’s pentathlon at the England Athletics Senior Indoor Combined Events Championships.

“I’m very happy with how the season’s gone,” she added. “There’s been a lot more competitions than I was expecting at the start of the year and it’s been a lot more successful than I thought it was going to be.

“It’s definitely (down to) the training I’ve been doing with my coach Steve King. He’s amazing at structuring your training and peaking you at the right time.”

With the indoor season just about done and dusted, Lovell is now focusing on her PGCE work and starting her second work placement, at St Leonards Academy.

In the summer outdoor season she hopes to have a crack at the county heptathlon record and win a medal at the England Combined Events Championships.

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