Golden girl Thompson steps up to the plate for England

Emily Thompson, Khahisa Mhlanga and  Davicia Patterson after the 800mEmily Thompson, Khahisa Mhlanga and  Davicia Patterson after the 800m
Emily Thompson, Khahisa Mhlanga and Davicia Patterson after the 800m
Emily Thompson produced another excellent display of running on her England debut.

The Banbury Harrier came away with a 300m relay gold and an 800m silver medal at Saturday’s schools international athletics fixture.

The fixture brought together the top under-17 athletes from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, with the Warriner student earning her call-up following a medal winning performance at the English Schools Championships in Gateshead,

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The 800m was won, as in Gateshead, by England’s Khahisa Mhlanga with Thompson making it an England one-two with an assured display of running.

A slow and tactical first lap saw Thompson take up a position on Mhlanga’s shoulder with the rest of the pack content to follow.

When Mhlanga kicked with 300m to go, Thompson went with her but a small gap built over the final 200m which she could not recover, despite running an extremely fast second lap of 64 seconds.

Thompson held off strong challenges from the Irish athlete Davicia Patterson, who took bronze, and Naomi Reid, the Welsh champion, to finish in a time of two minutes 13 seconds.

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Thompson was also selected as part of a talented England 4x300m relay team which included Mhlanga, Alex Shaw of Surrey and Amber Anning, the English 300m champion.

The opening 300m leg of the race saw England fall into third place behind Scotland and Ireland as Shaw suffered from a badly blistered foot.

Shaw recovered some of the lost ground before handing over to Mhlanga who made further gains to bring England into second place behind Scotland. Thompson’s third leg run took England into a narrow lead as she hunted down and passed the Scottish athlete on the top bend.

Handing over to Anning in first, England looked set for victory but Anning too was struggling with injury and she had to fight hard to stay ahead of the Scotland runner.

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Bringing the team home in two minutes 41 seconds, the fastest time of the year for a 4x300m relay team, Anning secured the gold for England.

Thompson was delighted with the outcome: “It has been such a fantastic feeling to represent my country. It inspires you to give even more and raise your performance even further.

“The relay was really tough but we showed a lot of character to come back and win.

“I came here wanting to win a medal for England so to win a gold and a silver is far more than I could have hoped for.”

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