Emily Borthwick heads to Tokyo Olympics

Emily Borthwick has relived the nerve-shredding week as she waited to discover if she would make the Team GB Olympics squad.
Emily BorthwickEmily Borthwick
Emily Borthwick

The high-jumper has arrived in Tokyo along with her partner, and fellow Wigan Harrier, Harry Coppell

He was automatically picked for the squad after reaching the pole vault qualifying standard at the British Championships.

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But Borthwick’s personal best of 1.93m fell just short of the automatic qualifying standard of 1.96m.

Only around a dozen high jumpers have cleared that height in the world this year but with 32 high jump spots at the Tokyo Games, World Athletics also invite the highest-ranked athletes to take part.

Which left Borthwick facing an anxious few days to discover if she had made the cut.

The 23-year-old recalled: “You either qualify automatically or World Athletics invite you, if you make the top list of 32.

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“I’m ranked in the top 20 in the world this year but because the Olympics was delayed, the rankings for it go back to performances from 2019.

“On the Monday, British Athletics figured out who would be invited by those rankings, and I was 31st.

“But the cut off was at the end of Tuesday for all the competitions around the world to finish, so I had to wait another day to find out.

“I was really nervous checking the updated rankings – it was one of those where I didn’t want to get my hopes up – and when I checked, I was 32nd. I just got in. I was 32nd by one point, ahead of the girl who was in 33rd.

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“I was so relieved but even then, I didn’t know for sure until the Thursday evening when the GB coach, Christian Malcolm, called me up and congratulated me.

“I was absolutely made up – but my emotions were all over the place for a few days. I’ve had a lot of things to sort out since, with Covid and admin and the rest, but I’m so excited about it. This is a dream come true for me.”

Leigh’s 800m runner Keely Hodgkinson and Aspull rugby sevens ace Dan Bibby are also heading to the Games, which begin on Friday. The athletics

“This is a year of firsts for me,” added Borthwick.

“My first senior GB shirt, my first European Indoors, now my first Olympics.

“It’s all so surreal. But I’m still me, my life hasn’t changed, I’ve not changed. I’m still Emily from Wigan!”