A Cumbrian long jumper has a medal position firmly in her sights as she prepares to represent her country for the first time.
Sixteen-year-old Megan Busby finished second at last weekend’s English Schools Athletics national championships, held at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.
Despite missing out on a gold medal by just one centimetre, Megan recorded a new personal best of 5.87m – beating her previous record of 5.73m.
However, her jump was enough to secure a place in the home international event in Dublin tomorrow.
Megan, who recently sat her GCSEs at Caldew School, in Dalston, will be joined by Keswick School’s Oliver Dustin, who took gold in the senior boys 800m event at the national championships.
Tara Simpson-Sullivan, who attends Ullswater Community College in Penrith, will also be heading to Ireland after she won the intermediate girls hammer with a throw of 61m.
A delighted Megan said: “I equalled my personal best in the competition then in the fifth round I got 5.87m.”
Megan said she knew she had to achieve a new personal best in Birmingham if she was going to be selected for England – but added that she was always confident of meeting her target.
“I was fifth or sixth in the UK going into the competition,” she said.
“But I know two of the girls and one isn’t going [to Dublin] because she’s got a Commonwealth event and another is going for the triple jump, so I knew there were two who were knocked out. I knew I had to get a personal best to stay in.”
In her bid to be selected for England, Megan has been training several times a week, although her routine was interrupted during her studies.
She said: “I was training four times a week then it eased off over the exam period, maybe to once or twice a week. Then it went back up again and then back down to ease off a little bit.”
Although it is the first time that Megan will have represented England, she says she is familiar with some of the other competitors that she will be facing in Dublin.
“There’s a girl I know from English Schools and from the indoors, who I only spoke to recently,” she said.
“There’s a girl from Scotland who is actually my training partner. She’s two years younger but she beat all the older ones.
"That’ll be quite good because it’s Scotland versus England but we’ve got the same coach, so it’s going to be quite funny.
“I know the other Scottish girl as well, because obviously I’ve got a Scottish club [Megan competes for Carlisle Aspatria Athletics Club and Giffnock North Amateur Athletic Club, near Glasgow] and I compete up there quite regularly as well.”
Megan added that she is looking forward to representing her country and is hoping to return triumphant.
“It was always the aim to get there, so now I’m there I can be a bit more relaxed but I’ll still be focused on the job in hand,” she said.
“I’m hoping to bring a medal back with the team.
"I know a few will get the medals, so I don’t want to be going thinking ‘Oh, everyone else is bringing one back’, because I want one myself.”