BBC Shine Sporting Spotlight on Abby | King's College Taunton

BBC Shine Sporting Spotlight on Abby

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King’s College was visited by BBC Points West this week. Their focus was on Fourth Form pupil Abby H, who has become a bit of a race walking talent on the local, regional and national athletics scene.

In 2019, Abby had been asked to attend the Somerset Schools Athletics training days, where there was the opportunity to practice lots of different endurance events. As part of the day, they tried race walking, and at the end of the day, was approached by the coach Fiona Edington, who felt she had potential and suggested Abby should enter the county race walking championships.

Having previously focused on long distance running and cross-country events at 1500m and 3000m, Abby decided to give it go in April 2019. After smashing previous championship record by three minutes, in a time of 17m 02.05s, Abby was astounded to walk home and take the Somerset title. She was then ranked 4th in the country in the U15 girls’ category.

Abby’s success continued throughout 2019, she walked to second place in the Under 15 3km race walk at the English Schools National Race Walking Championships and again in the England Athletics Under 15 Championships. Determined to challenge for the title, after six laps, she was 20m behind the leader but finished just a stride behind at the end. Despite missing out on the gold, Abby recorded a nine second personal best in her fourth ever race walk competition.

Still keen to compete in other events, Abby took a bronze at the Somerset Cross-Country Championships at the end of 2019, and just into 2020, finished 2nd in Somerset at the Tri-Counties XC and took sixth place in the Somerset Schools U17 Cross-Country Championships, qualifying for the South West Schools event next month.

Her sports mentor, strength and conditioning coach and race walking coach, Steve Shaw, said:

“Since Abby joined King’s College, she has been keen to make the most of all opportunities presented to her, from the sports field (hockey, netball, cross-country, swimming and athletics), to academia, and performing in the school drama productions. She is a determined character who pushes herself to achieve in all areas. Abby has worked twice a week with me for the past year on her strength and conditioning, along with setting out a balanced programme of sport and external commitments at Taunton Athletic Club.”

Her added: “Her race walking achievements are incredible considering how new she is to the event, but her training is going well and the call up to represent England in the Nihill Shield Match in February half term is a great reward for all her hard work.”

Tune in to BBC Points West on 4 February to hear all about her training, performances and plans for the future. We’ll post a reminder on social media closer to the time.

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