WHITBURN’S Emma Johnson was left toasting a job well done on Sunday after winning high jump silver at the Aviva Sportshall UK Final in Birmingham – etching her name alongside Olympic medallists Kelly Sotherton and Mark Lewis-Francis.
The 13-year-old Whitburn School pupil, pictured, was in fine form at the LG Arena-hosted event, finishing second with a best leap of 1.54 metres, just three centimetres shy of gold medallist Kierra Barker.
And after writing her name into the Sportshall history books alongside the likes of Sotherton and Lewis-Francis – who tasted success in 1992 and 1998 respectively – Johnson was more than satisfied with her day’s work.
“I was really happy to have won a medal. It was a really nice feeling,” said Johnson, who competes for Jarrow and Hebburn Athletics Club.
“It also felt really good because I didn’t win anything last year, so to get silver was really good.”
The Aviva Sportshall is part of the Aviva Athletics Academy, which encourages children to get involved in athletics.
And Johnson’s efforts at Birmingham’s LG Arena didn’t go unnoticed, with current Aviva GB and NI Team heptathlete Louise Hazel there to cheer her on.
And Hazel – who claimed gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi – believes Johnson is well placed for a bright future in athletics after a storming start.
“It is nice to see Emma having fun and enjoying athletics – that is how it should be,” Hazel said.
“Sportshall is a great insight into athletics and it gives Emma a great opportunity to give something different a go because at school you don’t always know what you are good at.”