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The Olympics and three Blackburn Harriers – Sophie, Holly & Samantha

Many youngsters starting out in athletics grow up dreaming of going to the Olympics. They see the stars of Track & Field on the television competing at the highest level and try to identify themselves with the same level of athletic excellence. To have qualified for an Olympics, to be called an Olympian, to reach an Olympic Final and to win a Medal is such a magnificent achievement.

Who can forget Sophie’s British Record breaking final throw to win the Bronze Medal, Sam’s incredible drive to pick up 22 places to finish in the top ten (9th) of the Modern Pentathlon and Holly’s fantastic attempt at 4.80m finishing 5th and being so close to the Medal places, all of which has been so inspirational to watch.

But it doesn’t come easy. It’s a journey of highs and lows, of frustrations, of injuries, of wins and losses, of training on nights when the rain is pouring down, when it is freezing cold. It is during these experiences that an Olympic athlete, an Olympian is born. It is, during all of this that an athlete’s focus is honed, when determination is built, when commitment is cemented, when hard work is embraced, when choices are made, when the athlete has understood that they will train and compete for years perhaps to perfect one throw, one jump, one run, lasting no more than seconds in some cases, to achieve their dream.

Having seen them all develop from a young age, having seen the work, the training, the commitment and dedication, the sheer mental strength that they have all displayed, it is a credit to each and everyone of them. They did themselves proud, their Coaches, their families and the Harriers.

Sophie Hitchon, Holly Bleasdale and Samantha Murray are all young women who came through all of that and are rightly called Olympians. The way they all fought in each of their events was a real inspiration to not only everyone at the Harriers but many, many other young and older athletes who were fortunate to see them compete. Each of them has their own story, each of them have committed so much and each of them have had their highs and lows in preparation for Rio. They did themselves proud.

What’s next? These will do for a start – 2017 brings the World Championships to London – 2017 sees Egypt host the Senior World Modern Pentathlon Championships – 2018 has the Commonwealth Games in Australia –  2020 and the Olympics move to Tokyo.

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(Sophie Hitchon)

Sophie’s Record of achievement to-date

Domestic Championships Record
2007 – England Athletics U17 Open Championships HT gold
2008 – England Athletics U20 Open Championships HT gold
2009 – English Schools championships HT gold, England Athletics U20 Open Championships HT gold
2010 – Aviva European Trials & UK Championships HT silver, Aviva England U20 & World Trials Championships HT gold
2011 – BUCS Championships HT gold. Aviva World Trials & UK Championships HT gold. Aviva European U23 Trials & UK Championships HT gold
2012 – Aviva Olympic Trials & UK Championships HT gold
2013 – England Athletics U23 Championships & European Trials HT gold

Major Championships and International Highlights

2015 – World Championships in Beijing 4th

2014 – Commonwealth Games in Glasgow Bronze medal
2013 – IAAF World Championships HT 10th q. European Athletics Team Championships HT bronze. European Athletics U23 Championships HT gold
2012 – Olympic Games HT 12th, European Championships HT 11th
2011 – IAAF World Championships 13th q. Spar European Team Championships HT 9th. European U23 Championships HT bronze
2010 – IAAF World Junior Championships HT gold
2009 – European Junior Championships HT bronze
2008 – World Junior Championships HT 7th, Commonwealth Youth Games HT gold

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(Holly Bradshaw)

Holly’s Record of achievement to-date

Domestic Championships Record
2013 – European Indoor Trials & UK Championships PV gold
2012 – Aviva Olympic Trials & UK Championships PV gold. BUCS PV silver. Aviva European Indoor Trials & UK Championships PV gold
2011 – Aviva European Indoor Trials & UK Championships PV gold. Aviva U23 Championships PV gold. Aviva World Trials PV gold.
2010 – Aviva European Trials & UK Championships PV silver. Aviva England U20 & World Trials Championships PV silver. Aviva World Indoor Trials & UK Championships PV 4th. Aviva England U20 Indoor Championships PV bronze.
2009 – England U20 Championships PV 6th. Aviva England Athletics U20 Indoor Championships PV 7th
2008 – English Schools Championships 80mh 5th h. UK School Games 80mh 5th h. English Schools Combined Events Championships Heptathlon 14th.
2007 – Sainsburys English Schools Championships 80mh 6th h

Major Championships and International Highlights

2015 –  World Championships in Beijing 7th in the Final

2014 – Indoor World Championships in Poland 9th in the Final
2013 – European Indoor Championships PV gold. European Athletics Team Championships NM
2012 – Olympic Games PV 6th. IAAF World Indoor Championships PV bronze
2011 – European U23 Championships PV gold. European Indoor Championships PV 11th q. Spar European Team Championships PV 5th. IAAF World Championships PV NH q.
2010 – IAAF World Junior Championships PV bronze

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(Samantha Murray)

Samantha’s Record of achievement to-date

5th World Championships, Germany 2015
1st World Cup #1 Florida, USA 2015
1st World Championships Warsaw, Poland 2014
7th European Championship Hungary 2014
1st British Championships 2014
1st British Championships 2013
5th World Cup #2 Rio De Janeiro, Brasil 2013
2nd Olympic Games London 2012
3rd World Championships Rome, Italy 2012
3rd World Cup #4 Rostov, Russia 2012
4th World Cup #3  Hungary 2012
1st Hungarian Cup 2012
6th World Cup #1 Charlotte, USA 2012
1st Budapest Indoor 2012
7th World Cup #1 Palm Springs, USA 2011
4th World Cup #4 Budapest, Hungary 2010
7th World Cup #3 Medway, England 2010
16th World Cup #1 Cancun, Mexico 2010
1st Budapest Indoor 2010
7th Junior World Championships Hungary 2010
1st Junior World Championships Team Hungary 2010
1st Junior European Championships Team Portugal 2010

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