Emma sets sights on PB at the Gold Coast.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Emma sets sights on PB at the Gold Coast. thumbnailBanbridge woman, Emma Mitchell is looking forward to competing in her first Commonwealth Games.

A BANBRIDGE woman is counting down the days until she takes part in this year's Commonwealth Games, following her selection to the Athletics NI team.

Emma Mitchell will compete in the Games for the first time this year with the 24-year-old taking part in the 5000m and 10,000m events.

Coached by Eamonn Christie, Emma's club is Queen's University but she cites a primary school teacher as having been a big influence on her.

"As a kid I could turn my hand to most sports and be pretty successful, which I suppose helps to inspire you, but I just loved to run.

"My primary six teacher, Mrs Mary Mark from Ballydown Primary School was hugely supportive of my running talent and was a positive influence at that stage, which encouraged me to continue in the sport," said Emma.

"It wasn't until second year at Banbridge High School where I found a running club in Banbridge and a coach, Heather Ardis who encouraged me and inspired me to keep running.

"It was through Heather that I met my current coach, Eamonn Christie, who told me to believe in myself and my training - and that I will achieve great things."

Emma says her sporting icon is Sonia O'Sullivan - "a hugely successful Irish athlete who I admire" - while her own personal bests are 5,000m: 15.50.55 (NIR) and 10,000m: 32.51.78 (NIR).

Outside of athletics, she is in her final year at Stranmillis University College, where she is training to be a teacher, and after graduating she plans to focus on training and competing before studying for a Masters.

"Like most athletes I don't have very much spare time between training and studying, but I love reading," she said.

Emma says she can't wait to get out and compete in the Commonwealth Games and is looking forward to adding to her best moment in sport to date - the Seeley 10k in November 2016, which was her first 10k.

"It proved to be a huge success after the training I had put in throughout that year," she said, adding the 2017 Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m PBs in London was another highlight.

"A number of people, including my coach and World Snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, came to watch me race. It was my first time racing 10,000m on the track and to achieve the Commonwealth Games' qualifying standard and break Teresa Duffy's 20-year-old Northern Ireland record was incredible," she said.

A number of South Down athletes will travel to the Gold Coast in Australia to compete in the Games.

The Commonwealth Games will be held from Wednesday, 4 April to Sunday, 15 April.

More than 600 athletes and team officials from 70 Commonwealth nations and territories will share in what has been hailed as a "celebration of entertainment and culture".


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