Former City of York junior heptathlete Jessica Taylor lands Commonwealth Games spot
HEPTATHLETE Jessica Taylor hopes performing in front of more than 50,000 fans at Hampden Park can inspire her to Commonwealth Games success.
The 25-year-old, a former star of City of York Athletic Club’s youth set-up, is to don the England vest after being named as one of three to take on the multi-disciplined event at the Commonwealth Games next month.
Taylor, whose father Peter is a former chairman of the Huntington Stadium-based club, will join Katarina Johnson- Thompson and teenager Morgan Lake in the Glasgow spectacle, which starts on July 23.
She admitted she hadn’t expected to be selected for the major championship, which will be her first at this level, but said it was a moment “I have been waiting for my whole life”.
“I am so happy,” Taylor, who is sponsored by ANS Group in Manchester, said. “We have Kat, who is number one in the world at the moment, and Morgan is the best world junior so there was only one space for the rest of us. I never even thought I would be going and I am going in ranked seventh.”
Taylor has spent the last seven years studying architecture in Manchester while training up to 25 hours a week. She forged her love of athletics in York, though, starting out as a sprinter under veteran coach Geoff Barraclough.
“It wasn’t until I was 15 that I started doing the heptathlon,” she added. “One of the reasons was realising I wasn’t going to get as far as I wanted as a sprinter although in the heptathlon they are among my best events.
“The discipline is a lot more friendly. Among the teams you support each other. In sprinting, it’s everyone for themselves. My strengths are the 200 metres and the long jump and hurdles.”
On her ambitions for the Games, Taylor said: “I am hoping to place in the top five and get an overall personal best. There are two girls above me that are really close. Hopefully the home crowd can spur me on.
“I’ve never been to a major championships before. I was in front of a big crowd one night for the British University Championships at the Olympic Stadium but I am used to being in front of about 50.
“I think it will really inspire me. I am going to try and enjoy the experience. There will be people there to support me - a lot of family and friends - and it is something I have been waiting for my whole life.”
Taylor will be in action in the 100 metres hurdles at the Sainsbury’s British Championships today.
• City of York Athletic Club star Richard Buck eased into today’s 400 metres semi-finals at the Sainsbury’s British Championships in Birmingham.
Buck clocked 47.11 seconds to finish second in the fourth of five one-lap heats, with Michael Bingham winning in 47.02 seconds.
Bingham pushed hard to gain a lead in the first 200 metres, but Buck stormed home to close the gap in the second half of the race.
Conrad Williams clocked the fastest qualifying time last night, winning the opening heat in 46.28 seconds.