TESNI Ward has got her 2011 season off to the perfect start.
The Worksop athlete took two golds at the British Universities and Colleges Sports Championships (BUCS) in Bedford at the weekend, and went straight to the top of the UK rankings.
Ward threw a personal best of 50.58m in the javelin on Saturday, breaking the 50m barrier for the first time, winning gold and taking the top spot in the UK rankings for all ages.
On Monday she made it two golds with a win in the discus with a throw of 44.74m – putting her fourth in the rankings for all ages.
The 19-year-old told the Guardian she hadn’t expected to do quite so well this early in the season.
“I hoped for at least a medal in both events,” she said.
“But I was unsure how it would go, I’d not thrown javelin properly for two weeks before with a minor impingement in my shoulder.”
“My expectations were not the most optimistic.”
Topping the country’s athletics rankings in the javelin is a proud achievement for the University of Hallam student, but she knows it will be a tough task to stay there.
She said: “It feels pretty cool, although it’s early days and I know I’m not staying there for long unless I kick the distance up.”
“I’m facing some tough competition this year so I would be content to stay in the top five.”
A change in coaches has led her to work on her javelin and conditioning with David Parker at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, and Ward believes it has helped her performance.
“Aside from a few niggles winter training was the best I have had so far in my career.”
“Changing coach was the best decision I have made, and training loads went up to eight to 10 times a week.”
“I must admit it was a bit of a change going to uni on top of changing coaches and training load, and the body wasn’t happy with me to start with, but I got through it and now I’m in the best condition of my life,” she added.
Next up is the County Championships on 14th and 15th May in Derby, and then Ward hopes to travel further afield to take part in the Euro Under 23 Championships in July in the Czech Republic.
The student feels qualification for the event in Ostrava is not far off.
“Both my coach and I feel it is well within my reach with a couple of minor technical changes.”
“It is still very early in the season and my training has been tailored so that I peak around June and July, so there should be plenty more in the tank.”
Proud mum Sara said she hoped the gold medals in Beford would be a portent of things to come in 2011.
“She had a very encouraging start to her season.”
“A double champion at her first event of the year, and a major one at that.”
“Let’s hope it continues.”