WIGAN Harrier Emily Borthwick received an early 17th birthday present – a gold medal at the national championships.
Just weeks after returning to the high-jump, she stormed to glory at the Bedford event.
Her impressive leap of 1.76m was enough for her to claim the top position on the podium.
And incredibly, she revealed she only returned to the discipline after an unexpected success for the Robin Park club over the summer.
Borthwick, who celebrates her 17th today, said: “I won a silver medal at highjump at the English Schools Championships two years ago, but I injured my foot afterwards and so I sort of quit it.
“I’ve been training 300m and 400m since. But I was asked to jump at a league meeting and I went okay, and then I did an inter-county and got a PB, and I thought, ‘What’s going on?’
“So I decided to do the high-jump at the national championships, I thought it was my best chance of winning a medal, and I was delighted when I won.”
Borthwick, of Winstanley, has been training six times a week over the summer and plans to maintain her hectic schedule during the off-season.
The St John Rigby College student, who has been with Wigan Harriers for eight years, has already trained her sights on the European Junior Championships next year.
She said: “I’ve spoken to my coach and he said it would be silly to stop highjump, because my heights are really good for my age group, so I’m going to combine it with 400m and keep my options open.”