GOLDEN girl Ellie Gooding returned from the Home Countries School Championships with the winner’s medal around her neck after putting in an inspired display in her England colours.
The 15-year-old Folkestone School for Girls pupil managed to vault 3.5m on her first attempt after successfully clearing 3m, 3.2m, 3.3m and 3.4m before.
Those clearances meant she saw off the challenge of all comers from Ireland, Scotland and Wales but, like the National Championships in Gateshead, she was locked in a battle with her England team-mate Ailis McGovern.
McGovern had a no vault at 3.4m before clearing it on her second attempt and it was all down to the final vault at 3.6m which neither girl cleared.
As there was nothing to separate the two young stars it went to countback but both had one no vault each – Ellie’s was at 3m – so the gold medal was shared.
England’s girls and boys teams both gained the most points which meant they won the team competition.
Mum Carly, who was one of a load of family and friends supporting Ellie at the Julie Rose Stadium in Ashford, said: “This was the first time Ellie had been selected to represent her country which is a fantastic achievement. To come home with a gold medal at an international competition is just amazing.
“She has come a long way in such a short period of time and we are extremely proud of her.”
Ellie has only been competing in the pole vault for just over a year but she’s already making huge strides in the sport.