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Emma Denham

Read Emma’s first-hand account of the athletics season – the highs, the lows, and her ambitions for the future.

I’m a first-year student studying BSc (Hons) Forensic Science and a BU Sports scholar. I am honoured to have been awarded a BU Sport Scholarship to help me to achieve my sporting goals.

In 2018, I was classified as a T37 competitor (co-ordination impairments) and therefore a disabled athlete. At the end of last year’s season, I was 4th in the UK for long jump and 13th for 100m sprint.

My aims for the 2019 season were to compete for BU and to increase both my speed and distance. Although only halfway through the season, I have already achieved these goals, increasing my jump by 8cm and reducing my 100m time by 0.74 seconds, as well as competing at both the indoor and outdoor BUCS Championships.

My season opener was at the BUCS Indoor Athletics Championships in February. This was a new experience for me. I was very happy with my jump, being only 11cm off my prior 2018 season’s best, but still felt like I could improve. I felt proud to be able to represent BU at the event, wearing my new BU vest.

The next competition was outdoors and I was thrilled to achieve a new 6cm personal best (PB) in the long jump at the Bournemouth Athletic Club Open, despite it being very windy!

Emma preparing to take a jump

Following this, I competed in the Southern Athletics League, representing my home club Yeovil Olympiads. This was a challenging tournament, with my long jump distance 20cm below my PB. However, I did come third competing as a ‘B’ string athlete in the able-athletics competition which I was very pleased with.

Next up was the Bill Whistlecroft Spring Festival Open and I competed in both the long jump and 100m sprint. Due to the poor weather conditions, I struggled with the long jump but I did get a new PB in the 100m, helping me climb up the 100m leader board.

My final competition was the BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships. Despite gale-force winds, I managed to perform well, coming 5th in the 100m and just 0.02 seconds slower than my PB. In the long jump, I came third and achieved a new PB in the process. It was so rewarding to stand up on the podium and collect my first BUCS medal.

I am now currently sixth in the UK for 100m and second in my age group for the long jump. As the athletics season continues, my focus is on improving my PBs and achieving international classification.

July 2019

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