Team England’s Commonwealth bronze medallist Niamh Emerson is hoping for continued success following on from her “once in a lifetime” experience at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and her recent IAAF World U20 Championships win.
On the Gold Coast, the teenager clinched a dramatic last-gasp finish to add gloss to Team England’s women’s heptathlon performance, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson snatching a resounding gold to secure a one-three podium.
“It was amazing,” Emerson gushed when talking about her time on the Gold Coast in April. “It wasn’t what I expected at all, it just exceeded my expectations.”
The Derbyshire heptathlete needed a strong finish in the 800m, putting a few seconds between her and Australian Celeste Mucci in the final stage of the event. Not only did she achieve this, she recorded the best time from both heats to take the 930+ points needed to secure the bronze.
“I just remember turning around and looking behind me and I was trying to see how far away (Mucci) was because I had to beat her by so many seconds,” she explained. “I had to try and judge the distance and then it was like ‘oh my god, I think I’ve just come third’.”
As a result of Team England’s successes in Australia, which culminated in a total of 136 medals, Team England’s medallists were invited to a reception at 10 Downing Street, hosted by British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The 19-year-old said of her day on Downing Street: “I never knew what to expect because I’ve only ever seen it on TV and it was really different compared to how you imagine it. It was a lot quieter and I imagined it would have been on the main street, but the whole thing was so cool.”
The Commonwealth Games was Emerson’s season-opener, and has now left her hungry for even more success. The Shirland-born athlete recently won the World U20 Championships with a personal best and hopes to continue her flying form throughout the rest of the season although she has admitted it will depend on a slight knee injury.
Despite there being no heptathlon event in Birmingham for this year’s British Championships, Emerson still seized the opportunity to compete in the javelin, long jump and 100m hurdles events.
“The Under 20 Nationals, British Championships and all the bigger competitions help to gauge where I am, but also to replicate the high pressure situations in the big events.” Emerson concluded.