Sports

Sommerís wonderful 2017 continues

Thursday, 2 March 2017

CASTLEDERG teenager Sommer Lecky's 2017 season continues to get better and better as she won the high jump gold medal at the English U20 Championships in Sheffield.

Finn Valley AC athlete Sommer produced a 1.79m jump to win the title. Indeed she did raise the bar to 1.82m in an attempt at a new Irish junior record but it wasn't to be on this occasion.

The win came a week after Sommer became the Irish National Senior indoor high jump champion following her record equalling jump at the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown, Dublin. The 16-year-old took the top spot with a huge jump of 1.81m, equalling the Irish junior record set by Deidre Ryan in 2001.

And hours after cementing her position as Ireland's top young female high jumper, Sommer was on the road to the Athletics Ireland Youth Awards in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, where she picked up the outstanding performance at a dinner attended by Europe Athletics President, Sven Arne Hanson. The award was an acknowledgment for her brilliant 2016 season, which included schools, Tailteann Games, national youth and senior titles.

The award wasn't the first in 2017 recognising her phenomenal season last year, as the schoolgirl was also honoured by Athletics NI at a presentation in Belfast at the end of January. Sommer's coach at Finn Valley, Niall Wilkinson, was also acknowledged on the night for his hard work.

In her opening competition of the year, Sommer cleared 1.78m to win the high jump event at the Scottish Indoor Championships the Emirates Stadium in Glasgow.

The string of consistent performances have already ensured Sommer's has hit her two key targets for the 2017, qualification for both the European Junior Championships in the Grosseto, Italy, and the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas, with both events to look forward to in the summer.

Head coach of Finn Valley, Patsy McGonagle, speaking about Sommer's most recent achievement in Sheffield, said:

"It is a very significant result, in that the competition is U20s, and Sommer is only 16 years of age. Consistently in each of her competitions this season she has performed in and around 1.80m.

"She's hit all her targets as a young development athlete. She has equalled the Irish junior record, but she will climb higher. It's a very good indication of her progress.

"She is a calm, grounded athlete with a good attitude, and Niall, her coach, is a doing great work with her.

"Her parents, Adrian and Heather, and all of her extended family in Castlederg, are supporting her unbelievably well. They are very supportive of her. She is an exciting young athlete, and she just has to continue working hard, and dreaming dreams really."

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