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Meet Lancashire’s future Olympic heroes

Up and down the country, Coaches will be telling all their young athletes, in whatever discipline they are involved in, that somewhere among them is a future Olympian; And, it is true. Somewhere among all those young athletes, giving it all they have in their weekly Training Sessions, there is an Olympian in the making.

At Blackburn Harriers we have been fortunate to see some of our athletes develop and grow into world class athletes, competing in European, Commonwealth, World and Olympic Championships. In 1978 Mick Morton won the World Junior Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh. Holly Bradshaw (Pole Vault), Sophie Hitchon (Hammer) and Sam Murray (Modern Pentathlon) have all gone on to compete at the very top of the sport, with Samantha winning a Silver Medal at the London Olympics in 2012 and winning the World Individual Championships in 2014. Sophie won Bronze Medals at the Commonwealth Games and the 2016 Olympic Games and Holly won Bronze in the Indoor World Championships in 2012 and Gold at the European U23 Championships in 2011 to name just a few of the Medals and Titles they have all won over the years.

What all these athletes had in abundance was the drive to succeed, a drive that saw them overcome injuries, sometimes serious and a mentality, a mental toughness that transcended summer training and warm nights to apply themselves similarly on those dark wet, dark cold, dark wet and cold nights during winter training.

There are other athletes who have gone on to achieve at National and International level at the Harriers and the one thing that they all had and have in common, is this same desire, the focus, the commitment and the understanding that through hard work, they can achieve their dreams.

Instead of watching other champions on television, they want to be the champions on television!

2BR Radio recently came down to Witton Park to interview and observe two young Hammer Throwers at the Club – Jacob Roberts and Charlotte Williams – training under the watchful eye of  their Coach Mick Hitchon, who was central to his daughter Sophie’s success in the Hammer in her earlier years.

On a freezing night the reporter said that even in the freezing cold they still believe they can do it, that they they can achieve their aim of becoming Olympians. And why not?  Olympian Sophie Hitchon proved it is possible. 2BR were keen to see what the future holds for these two young athletes saying that  “We’ve be down to the club where it all began for Sophie and the likes of Samantha Murray and Holly Bradshaw – Blackburn Harriers. Jacob Roberts is a young hammer thrower and is the Northern Champion U17 winning 17 out of the 20 competitions he’s been in this year and coming second in the other three”

[Jacob is in full swing at practice]

Jacob told 2BR “their success and especially Sophie’s showed him anything is possible: It shows that the hard work does pay off – as she started out at the same age as me and look where she is now. My main aim is to get to the Olympics and Commonwealth Games but that’s going to take time and effort. I’m just amazed when I let go of the hammer and it goes that far. It’s incredible feeling when you think it’s been thrown by a little guy like me.”

[Practice makes perfect for Charlotte]

Charlotte Williams is another young hammer thrower who has seen a lot of success during her short career. She’s second in the national rankings and won the Northern U15 Girls Hammer Championships with a throw of 55.82m which was a new Championship Record and finished the season with a throw of 57.10m. That was Charlotte’s 14th Hammer competition of the year and she’s only failed to win one of them and she told 2BR what it takes to reach her level:
“A lot of hard work and effort – training near enough every day – we only have one miss day. We don’t get any holidays in the year – maybe one if we’re lucky! So, it just takes a lot of hard work. But you can just feel it when you let go and you’re turning smoothly; And it feels really good and then you have to go back and wait for the result.”

Both Jacob and Charlotte were keen to highlight the importance of their Coach – Mick Hitchon – in their development as Hammer Throwers at National and hopefully international level as well as the support they receive from the Club itself. Their Coach is with them at every training session and every competition and the effort, work and commitment he puts in is an integral part of the success that the athletes have achieved to-date and can never be under-estimated.