Harriers in action at Olympic Stadium

Emma Perkins in action at Olympic Stadium
Emma Perkins in action at Olympic Stadium

EMMA Perkins finished second in the British Universities Championships (BUCS) high jump event on Saturday evening when she made her debut in the Olympic Stadium in London.

Worthing Harriers athlete Perkins, a Cambridge University student, won the event last year but was runner-up to Isobel Pooley this year after a jump of 1.78m – nine centimetres below her personal best.

Another Worthing Harrier and Cambridge University student, Rebecca Moore, was also in action at the Olympic Stadium as she competed in the final of the 10,000m and finished fourth on Sunday.

Pooley won the high jump event with 1.81m but 27-year-old Perkins said: “Obviously, it was a bit disappointing to finish second and 1.78m was not particularly high but, it was very cold, which meant it was always going to be a struggle.

“I’m not too disappointed as it’s a reasonable start to the season in those conditions and it was a really good atmosphere inside the stadium, with 40,000 people there cheering you on.

“It was definitely the worst conditions that I’ve jumped in. The finals started at 7pm and finished at 8.30pm when the temperature was really cold. Everyone struggled because of that – but it’s not going to be like that in August at the Olympics if I qualify.”

The championship record for the BUCS high jump is 1.84m – 5cm below Perkins’ personal best and Pooley – a training partner of Perkins – had three jumps to try to get a new record, at 1.85m, after her winning jump of 1.81m. Perkins said: “If the conditions were right, it might have been on the cards to set a new record but it wasn’t to be – maybe next year.”

Perkins’ target for the rest of the year is to jump the Olympic B qualifying standard of 1.92m.

She has various competitions now coming up to try to reach that standard, including the Loughborough International event, English Championships and UK trials.

Perkins said: “My coach was quite positive after the event on Saturday and, If I can continue to improve, I can get there. There’s still time, so I’m going to keep working hard.”

Moore, 20, finished fourth in a personal-best time of 35mins 10sec in the 10,000m and said: “It was a really good experience but also quite surreal.

“It was my first race on a track and I didn’t know what to expect beforehand. I suppose the top five was probably my aim.”

Moore, who was one of the youngest competitors, went with the pace setter and stayed with her. With five laps to go, Moore, the leader Jess Coulson and eventual winner Sarah McCormack began to pull away.

Moore continued to work hard and finished in fourth, which ranks her 10th fastest of all athletes in the UK, third in the under-23 age group and 32nd all-time fastest in the under-23 age group.