It's hammer time for Wigan ace Tara

Teenage ace Tara Simpson-Sullivan is putting the hours – and the miles – to fly the flag for Wigan this year.

The hammer-thrower is deep into her winter training as she looks to capitalise on a stunning 2017 campaign.

Tara Simpson-Sullivan

Tara Simpson-Sullivan

She finished the season by throwing a new personal best of of 63.23m – Britain’s third-longest distance ever recording for an Under-17s athlete.

Little wonder her coach Bob Halliwell has predicted a bright future for the Cumbrian.

He said: “She came to me two seasons ago and it took us until then start of 2017 to get used to each other and get her into a regime she hadn’t had before.

“From then, things started to escalate in terms of the distances she was throwing.

“She is ranked first in the UK for Under-17s, she was the northern champion last year, she won gold at the schools games and also won gold when she represented England in an international in Ireland. She’s definitely got a bright future.”

Simpson-Sullivan, who also trains in the shot, joined the Harriers to work with Halliwell – even though it means she has to make a 166-mile round trip from her home in Cumbria – to train at Robin Park once a week.

“My mum has been driving me a lot, hopefully I’ll pass my driving test this year,” said the college student.

This year, the weight of the hammer she competes with increases from 3kgs to 4kgs – the same category used by senior women.

“When I threw 63 at the school games last year I was so shocked, and then the week last at the Wigan Open I threw a new PB,” said Simpson-Sullivan, who took up the hammer four years ago.

“This year is about getting my distances up because I’m competing against people who are two years older.

“The Under-20s World Champs is this year but 60m is the qualifying mark and, for my first year, that would be a massive achievement.

“I’ve got the Northern Championships and the English Schools, doing well at those events are big goals... as well as passing my driving test!”