WORTHING Harriers Athletics Club’s Emma Perkins was surprised but delighted to be named in the Great Britain team for this weekend’s European Team Athletics Championships in Stockholm, Sweden.
The 25-year-old has been selected for the sole women’s high jump position in the GB team and will represent GB for the first time since she was 15 and in the under-17 squad.
She is the in-form high jumper in the country at the moment, with 1.80m-plus jumps in her last three competitions, including a personal best 1.82m and she said: “I’m obviously delighted. It’s been a while since I’ve represented GB but it’s good to be back.
“I wasn’t really expecting it but not many people have opened very well in the high jump this year and I’ve seized the opportunity.
“It’s a big competition, my first international one, and I hope to do myself justice.”
Perkins put her athletics career on the back burner while studying at Cambridge University. She still competed in the odd competition but she now has more time on her hands as she is doing a PHD in history of science.
She started the year well with a then-personal best of 1.81m in the British University Championships in May.
She followed that up with an athlete-of-the-match performance for Cambridge University in their victory over Oxford in the annual varsity match later in the same month, when she won five of her six events on the day.
On her hopes going into the European Championships, she said: “I’ve not really set any targets. I’m not going in as a favourite to win but I’d like to have a good competition and get a personal best.
“There are some big names in the GB squad and when I saw the list, I just thought ‘wow’. There’s Phillips Idowu, Greg Rutherford, Goldie Sayers, Dai Greene is the captain, Christian Malcolm and Marlon Devonish.
“I think everyone scores points for their country, however well you do, but the higher you finish, the more points you’ll get.
“It’s so exciting and I’ve got a few people coming out to watch.
“I’ll just see how things go, though. I’ve not been back in training that long and I’m hoping that I’ve got more to come.”
Perkins’ high jump competition is on Sunday, with a start time of 3.24pm.
After the European Championships, Perkins will be focusing on the UK trials which take place from July 29-31.