East Molesey athlete Sophie Mace has set her sights on becoming a Team GB athlete after winning gold at the Aviva Athletics Academy Sportshall Finals in Birmingham last weekend, writes Sam Wakefield.
The 13-year-old Elmbridge Junior Sports Personality of the Year topped the podium in the girls’ shot put after producing a throw of 11.20m at the flagship junior athletics development event of the year in Birmingham.
Mace, who attends Hinchley Wood School, also took part in the two-lap race in the West Midlands but failed to add to her medal haul as she finished 15th.
But, after writing her name into the Sportshall history books alongside the likes of Team GB stars Kelly Sotherton and Mark Lewis-Francis – who tasted success in 1992 and 1998 respectively – the Walton Athletics Club youngster wants to follow in their footsteps.
“I went home really happy because I did not really think I would win,” said Mace, right.
“My parents expected me to win, but I wasn’t so sure so I was really happy to leave with gold.
“It is a real confidence boost going into the summer and I am going to use it to my advantage and one day I hope to be a professional athlete in the British team.”
The national Sportshall finals in Birmingham is part of the Aviva Athletics Academy, which encourages and enables children to get involved in track and field.
Mace and her rivals were cheered on by Team GB & NI high jumper Robbie Grabarz.
Aviva has backed Team GB & NI since 1999. #BackTheTeam or search for ‘Aviva Athletics’ on Facebook.