A Hastings Athletic Club talent has received an international call-up after setting a new county record for the women's long jump.
Elise Lovell became the first Sussex female to go through the six-metre barrier with a leap of 6.02m en route to a bronze medal at the Counties Athletics Union Championships in Bedford.
And a few days later Lovell received a phone call informing her that she's been selected to represent the England Athletics team in the inaugural Manchester International next Wednesday (August 17).
"I never thought I would be picked to represent my country in an individual event," said Lovell, whose achievement is all the more impressive given that she's a heptathlete rather than an out-and-out long jumper.
"I knew they were looking at people and selecting people from that competition, but I was under the impression it would be the winner who would be selected."
The England team will compete against opposition including Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and a Great Britain under-20 squad.
Lovell said: "Manchester's not known to be a quick track. The Bedford track is a different surface so it's quicker, but I would love to be back up at six metres, and just do myself proud and hold my own."
Lovell's performance in Bedford wasn't far off being even better. She was a solitary centimetre behind runner-up Katie Stainton (Birchfield Harriers Warwickshire) and just nine centimetres adrift of winner Eleanor Broome (Rugby & Northampton AC).
"I've been pushing the county record so much this year and always been so close," continued Lovell, who did go over six metres last year but the jump didn't count for record purposes due to the strength of the following wind.
"I opened with a 5.89m (jump) and went straight into the lead. I knew I was in form, running well and taking off well so it was good to finally get the record."
Lovell was previously the joint holder of the county record with a leap of 5.96m at the Southern Counties Senior Inter-County Match in Basingstoke on July 10. That jump matched the distance set by Leanne Buxton, which had stood for nine years.
The 24-year-old also just missed out on a place in the final of the 100m hurdles when finishing third in her heat in 14.05s. The two events weren't supposed to clash, but it turned out that they did, and Lovell's involvement in the hurdles meant she missed two jumps in the long jump.
Just a couple of weeks earlier Lovell won the senior women's heptathlon title at the Southern All Ages Combined Events Championships with a personal best score of 5,284 points.
Another Hastings AC talent, Louisa James, just missed out on a medal in the women's hammer at the Counties Athletics Union Championships, placing fourth with 58.03m.
The 22-year-old has gone over 60 metres at several meetings this summer, including her victory at the England Athletics U20/U23 Championships, and 60.32m would have been enough to clinch a silver medal on this occasion.
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