Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Sommer Lecky vows to go higher after sealing World silver

By Brian Hill

Strabane high jumper Sommer Lecky produced the performance of her life yesterday in the World Junior Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland when she took silver in a huge personal best jump of 1.90 metres which takes her into World class Senior territory.

The 18-year-old Finn Valley athlete, who has just completed her studies at Strabane Grammar School, had already shown in the qualification round that she was in the form of her life after clearing every height first time up to 1.84 metres to progress with 11 others to yesterday's final.

This placed her in the top four for the final.

On the biggest stage of her young career, Commonwealth Games Youth champion Lecky did not disappoint when she produced a series of superb jumps.

After a slight hiccup, when she had one failure at 1.80 metres, the Irish Junior record holder performed flawlessly and cleared 1.90 metres at the first attempt to produce a personal best by some four centimetres and place her second on the Irish Senior all-time list behind Deirdre Ryan's 1.95 metres from 2011.

Sommer's clearance at 1.90 metres ensured the silver medal behind winner Karyna Taranda of Belarus who jumped a National junior record of 1.92 metres.

Sommer, who made three valiant efforts at this height, is only the second Northern Ireland athlete to medal in a World Championship behind Ciara Mageean's World Junior 1,500 metres silver medal in Canada in 2010 .

Her achievement came on the last day after the Irish Women's sprint relay team set a National Junior record of 43.90 seconds when taking silver just behind Germany who won with 43.82 seconds.

The Irish finished ahead of the GB bronze medallists who recorded 44.05 seconds.

An overjoyed Sommer said: "I just knew I could get over these heights, and I know I can go higher than 1.90 metres.

"I focus on myself and just jump what's in front of me. I took inspiration from the relay girls who spurred me on.

"I would like to thank my coach Neill Wilkinson and loads of others."

Lecky is now certain to be selected by Ireland for the European Athletics Championships in Berlin next month as she has now achieved the 1.90-metre qualification mark.

In the Athletics World Cup in London, Lisburn AC's Megan Marrs, representing Great Britain, finished seventh in the 100 metres hurdles in 13.36 seconds which is her second fastest time ever. The race was won by Rikenette Steenkamp of South Africa in 12.87 seconds. Marrs won silver at the 2018 British Athletics Championships after a thrilling 100m hurdles final last month.

Northern Ireland's Marrs beat Jessica Hunter in a photo-finish for the silver medal after both athletes finished in 13.37 seconds.

The USA claimed the first Athletics World Cup after comfortably winning over two evenings.

They finished with 211 points, ahead of Poland in second as hosts Great Britain came third.

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