By Jamie Arrowsmith 19/07 Updated: 19/07 16:31
BARNT GREEN’S Becky Straw was in brilliant form as she clinched a gold medal in the senior girls’ 1,500m at the National Schools Championships in Gateshead.
The Redditch-born 17-year-old judged her tactics to perfection in a tight race as she sat in the lead pack for the first two laps and then moved to the front after 800m and gradually picked the pace up.
The Cannock & Stafford Athletic Club star injected a significant pace change with 550m to go and again at the bell, which gave her an unassailable lead and she eventually won by a clear ten to 15 metres.
“I am really pleased with the gold,” said Straw.
“I wanted to get a medal but nobody was going to hand it to me on a plate so I knew I had to work hard for it and that is exactly what I did.
“My coach told me to kick on with 240m left but I kind of started my wind-up earlier and managed to hold on.
“I have the same coach as Hannah England (2011 World Championship 1,500m silver medallist), so he should be pretty happy with this. It really is inspirational to train with the likes of Hannah.
“Obviously I don’t keep up with her but she gives me great advice as I train with her at Birmingham University so it really makes me a better athlete.”
This success comes after some great performances in minor races earlier in season, running a personal best time of 4mins, 22secs in London on June 9, which places her fifth in the UK U20 rankings and 15th in the European rankings.
Following that run Straw was also invited to run at the UK Olympic Trials in Birmingham at the end of June.
As the youngest competitor in the field she gained valuable experience and had a fantastic weekend. She raced well and held her own amongst the senior athletes as she finished a creditable sixth in her heat.
Straw’s next race is in Cardiff on Wednesday before the British Milers Grand Prix meet in Solihull the following weekend.
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