Emily Borthwick aiming to shine like a Diamond again

Wigan’s Emily Borthwick is counting down the days until she makes her Diamond League debut this month.
Emily Borthwick after setting a new Personal Best at the European Indoor ChampionshipsEmily Borthwick after setting a new Personal Best at the European Indoor Championships
Emily Borthwick after setting a new Personal Best at the European Indoor Championships

The high jumper reached the final of the European Indoor Championships in her first senior international event.

And she has been rewarded with an invite to the Muller Grand Prix in Gateshead on May 23.

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The Diamond League is an annual series of 14 meetings held around the world involving only elite athletes.

This month’s opener will feature many of the stars likely to be competing in the Tokyo Olympics, such as Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, sprint rival Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce plus Borthwick’s own partner – and fellow Wigan Harrier – pole vault ace Harry Coppell.

“A few people were saying I would be in but I tried not to get my hopes up – so I was made up when I got the invite,” said Borthwick.

“It’s my first one and they’re planning for a crowd so hopefully my mum and dad can get tickets because they didn’t get to see me in Poland.”

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At the European Indoor Championships, she recorded a four centimetre personal best with a third-time clearance at 1.91m to qualify for the final, where she finished eighth.

“It’s been a massive confidence booster, I’m training better, I’m happier and I’m more focused now,” said the 23-year-old, who lives with Coppell in Loughborough where they both now train.

“It’s like I went to Poland and have come back a different athlete, and I don’t mean that in an arrogant way.”

The first Diamond League event of 2021 was due to take place in Rabat, Morocco but has been moved to Gateshead due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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It means Gateshead International Stadium will be staging its first international grand prix since 2010, and it will offer competitive opportunities to British athletes ahead of the Olympics.

Coppell will be part of a world-class pole vault line-up which includes Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis, Sam Kendricks and Piotr Lisek, who finished one-two-three at the World Athletics Championships in Doha two years ago

Coppell, who set a British record of 5.85m at the Müller British Athletics Championships in Manchester last September, said: “If you’d said this time last year that we’d have the world’s best vaulters all in Gateshead for a competition like this, no one would have believed it.

“It’s brilliant that everyone’s coming over and for myself and Charlie (Myers) to have the opportunity to jump in a Diamond League on home soil is great.”