YOUNG pole vault star Jack Longhurst made it a dream English Schools and English Championships double – then afterwards admitted he’s still not sure whether to continue in the sport.

The 14-year-old FitzWimarc School pupil cleared a lifetime best of 3.70m to win the under-15 AAAs pole vault crown in Bedford.

It caps a fine year for the Rayleigh teenager who has dominated the event at his age group, despite struggling with a back complaint for the past couple of months.

But despite that dominance, Longhurst, who is a keen rugby player, is still not sure whether pole vaulting is for him in the long term.

“I’ve been thinking about it for the past couple of years,” he said. “With my rugby I’ve had trials for Saracens and play for Essex and I’ve represented Essex and England at pole vault. So I’m sort of at the same level with both at the minute.

“Pole vault has maybe taken over a little bit more at the moment, but I love them both.”

Longhurst’s potential in pole vault is still fairly untapped.

He only joined his first athletics club, Chelmsford AC, a few months ago with all his coaching previously coming from his school who are fortunate enough to have one of Britain’s leading female vaulters, Kate Cowley, among their staff.

But that notwithstanding, Longhurst has had to rely on tips from others when competing rather than having a coach trackside.

“No one was there with me on Saturday to give me advice,” he said. “I was actually struggling a bit on the lower heights before one of the high jump coaches at Chelmsford (Sylvia Sergeant) came over and pointed something out.

“She then said I should skip 3.60m and go straight on to 3.70m which was a bit of a risk, but I did it and that was enough to win so I was happy with that.”

And all that despite a back injury which has been affecting his vaulting.

“I’ve had it since just before the English Schools and it’s got worse and worse. I think I need to rest it for a while now. I’ll still play rugby though. It’s fine in contact, it’s just when I bend it there’s a problem!”

by: Ryan Goad


Jack Longhurst
Jack Longhurst

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