The young athlete hopes to follow in a long line of amazing British combined eventers
Pippa Earley has always wanted to be like Jessica Ennis-Hill and if the talented teenager’s recent results are anything to go by, she is on the right path to emulating some of the achievements of her idol.
The Kingston & Polytechnic AC athlete tops the 2015 UK under-15 rankings in 75m hurdles, long jump and pentathlon and having won the English Schools hurdles title, she is second quickest all-time and one of only six UK athletes to have gone sub 11 seconds for the distance.
Pippa impressed again the England Athletics Under-15 Championships, where she successfully defended her 75m hurdles crown and also took long jump gold. Then, last month, she won the pentathlon at the English Schools Combined Events Championships in 3462 points.
This performance in Bedford included a 10.86 in the 75m hurdles, missing the UK best by just one hundredth of a second. The English Schools victory in July was particularly special for Pippa. “I’m delighted with the whole season so far, but was particularly thrilled to win the English Schools, as I fell at the last hurdle last year, having had no sleep at all the night before because I’d been so anxious about the race! That was a great lesson for me to just try and relax and enjoy it,” explains Pippa, reiterating how important it is for young athletes to build up experience.
“I’m delighted with the whole season so far, but was particularly thrilled to win the English Schools”
“Being a Christian I have been very inspired by Nick Vuijcic and Bethany Hamilton, and they have taught me that if you trust in God anything is possible no matter what the setback.”
Although Pippa trains as a combined-eventer, it is the hurdles that she likes best. She says: “I love the excitement of it. Anything can happen. One clip of a hurdle can be the difference between winning and losing, and all lining up together waiting for the starting gun is a big adrenaline rush.”
John Shepherd coaches his young charge for long jump and is her overall pentathlon coach, but is clearly not afraid to draw on the expertise of other coaches for individual events. Lorna Booth coaches Pippa for hurdles and sprints training, while Tony Cooke covers shot put, Trevor Llewelyn does the high jump and Pippa has started doing javelin with William Trimble. William Kwatia coordinates Pippa’s strength and conditioning.
“I enjoy doing all the events and intend to continue as a multi eventer for the foreseeable future,” clarifies Pippa, before adding of her long-term aims: “I would love to win gold for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.”
“I enjoy doing all the events and intend to continue as a multi eventer for the foreseeable future”
The experienced Shepherd is full of praise for his athlete, who started out as an elite gymnast with Tolworth gymnastics club.
He says: “Pippa is a very talented, determined and gifted athlete and has a competitive and technical ability beyond her years.
“She has always wanted to be like Jessica Ennis and there are similarities in terms of for example her hurdles ability and tenacity. It became apparent very quickly that she could reach a high level.”
You can find further performance stats on Pippa on Power of 10 here.
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