A MORPETH pole-vaulter has her eyes firmly focused on the European Under-23 Championships in Ostrava later this year as she looks to complete the transition from promising junior to successful senior.
Sally Scott, who recently turned 20, has already enjoyed a record-breaking year to date – setting a new indoor personal best of 4.16m as she finished fifth at the Aviva European Trials & UK Championships in February.
And Scott, who is already turning her attentions to Ostrava qualification, has been selected for the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes scheme – an initiative which supports emerging athletes.
The former King Edward VI School pupil was hand-picked for the initiative as part of 262 up-and-coming athletes across England and Wales to receive funding in 2011 from Lloyds TSB, plus expert tuition from former Olympic triple jump champion Jonathan Edwards.
And Scott, who has an outdoor personal best of 4.20m, revealed her new found recognition is a timely boost.
“My first event is the BUCS outdoors in Bedford and then there are the qualifiers for the European Under-23 Championships in Ostrava,” said Scott, who attends Loughborough University.
“I’m fairly confident of qualifying as the minimum qualifying jump is the same as my personal best so as long as I jump that again, I should be fine. I’m in the top two in the country so I should be able to qualify.
“If everything goes really well there, I have a shot of a medal. My main aim is to make the final first and then I’ll take it from there.
“I’ve done a fair amount of international competition. Last year I went to the World Juniors in Moncton, Canada, where I came ninth. That was disappointing because my personal best would have won the event. It was quite frustrating, but I had a few problems injury wise.”
Scott’s early season success and integration on to the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes initiative has only served to further heighten the hype surrounding her development.
But she admits she’s keeping her feet firmly on the floor as she looks to continue her early season form into the outdoor season.
“It’s going well now this season and I’ve got my first outdoor competition at the end of April,” she added.
“I set a new indoor personal best in February and now I’d like to build on that and improve this season.
“Last year I was on UK Athletics funding but that’s so tight that it makes it really tough to get the funding. So to get the help from Lloyds is really important.”
Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 344 emerging athletes all the way to London 2012 and beyond. Follow the future stars of TeamGB and ParalympicsGB at www.lloydstsb.com/localheroes