In what was her 2nd time competing in the Kelvin International Arena, Cathriona Farrell captured the Scottish U17 High Jump title to add to the Irish and English titles that she won last year.
In a fantastic display of concentration, Cathriona cleared 1.70m on her first attempt to heap the pressure on her competitors. This was Cathriona’s first time to clear 1.70m on her first attempt. Her consistency since last August has been remarkable, clearing 1.70m in the Celtic Games in Antrim, 1.69m a week later in Sheffield, 1.70m 2 weeks later in Mosney, 1.71m at the Indoor Games in January and now 1.70m in Glasgow.
It is only a matter of time before Cathriona clears 1.73m and 1.75m which are the qualifying marks for next year’s European Youth Olympics and World Youth Championships. In fact, her clearance of 1.70m was closer to 1.74m. Only for a slight niggle in her right knee which weakened her on the day, she would have cleared the next height of 1.73m in Glasgow.
Cathriona joined the competition at 1.50m, passed on 1.55m and cleared 1.60m before a momentary lapse in concentration brought 1.65m down on her first attempt. She made no mistake on her second attempt however and then advanced onto her splendid clearance of 1.70m. Her main competitors were English Champion Hannah Dickson and Scottish Champion Jill Brooks (both of whom Cathriona had defeated in the AAAs last year) and Irish duo Mary Kate Lanigan and Caoimhe King.
Once the bar went to 1.70m, the Scottish athlete struggled to get a valid attempt in and the other athletes brought the bar down on their first and second attempts. Lanigan who is from Kilkenny had a super jump on her 3rd attempt to clear 1.70m, her first time clearing this height and the only other athlete to clear it. Up the bar went to 1.73m, with Cathriona coming very close to clearing it on her first attempt – having cleared it but dragging it off with her legs. Neither athlete cleared it so Cathriona won the title because of her first-time clearance of 1.70m, with Mary Kate Lanigan in 2nd and Caoimhe King from Westport tied for 3rd place with Dickson and Brooks.
It has been an eventful few weeks for Cathriona with victory in the National AAI Indoor Games in January followed by selection on the AAI Junior Achiever’s Panel for 2008 – this is just one step below the AAI’s carding scheme for elite athletes and recognises Cathriona’s potential as an elite jumper. This was quickly followed up by selection by AAI for their warm-weather training camp in Portugal during March.
It’s all starting to happen for Cathriona and is a just reward for the hours of dedication and hard work that she puts into her sport.