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Success in leaps and bounds for medal-winning student

[Photo: William Sharman] William Sharman, a first-year BA Economics student at the University of Leicester, is a talented athlete. His most recent success was to win a silver medal in the 60m hurdles at the British Universities Sports Association indoor champions meeting, held in Cardiff. His account of the event follows.

"The BUSA athletics competition was an eventful weekend, with some of the best senior athletes from around the UK taking part. Unfortunately for me, a few days leading up to the event, I tore some fibres in my ankle whilst checking my long jump run up. As a result my doctor advised me to pull out of the Long Jump and High Jump competitions. This was a real shame, as they were both going well in training. 

"This left me participating only the 60m Sprint and the 60m Hurdles. I got off to a flying start in the opening round of the 60m Sprint on the first day, winning my heat comfortably, then qualifying for the semis - in which I ran a fast time of 7.07 seconds. This result qualified me for the final. 

"The line-up for the final was very strong indeed, including 26-year-old Colin Wilson, a top club sprinter (from Woodford Green), and AAA senior 200 indoor champion Tim Abeyie, running for UWIC, ...and then there was me! - a mere 19 years of age! So, for me to have even reached the final eight from over 80 contenders was an achievement already.

"As the gun went bang I was off to a blistering start and was leading the race by half way (30m). Then some of the more experienced athletes came through and just edged me outside the medals in what was a 'promising' race for me. 

"However I was more concerned about the second day. The Hurdles event was going to be a challenge. Just before I raced, I had been speaking to world record holder Colin Jackson, who lives close by to the stadium, and a man able to inspire me. 

"The line-up for the Hurdles was tough. Andy Turner was present - last season's Senior number 1, successor to the great Colin Jackson. Also taking part was David Hughes, European Junior Finalist in Finland last year, (my age group rival!). David is also the AAA of England's Outdoor Junior Champion. Also a strong contender was Colin Roberts of Loughborough University. 

"I breezed through the heats in a personal best time of 8.12 - ahead of Loughborough's Roberts. Then I had a blistering run in the final into what was a photo finish between myself and the number 1 Senior athlete, Turner. Turner came out on top in a time of 7.92 and I was second, ahead of rival Hughes in a time of 8.02. This time elevated me straight up to 9th position on the Senior UK rankings for the Hurdles! 

"What made the weekend more significant was the fact that these championships were my first competition back since a shoulder operation as a result of a polevault accident seven months ago. I had trained only lightly before I went to this event, having completed only three Hurdles sessions. From this experience, I feel that I have the potential to make great strides in the future."

William J Sharman

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Last updated: 9 March 2004 15:00
Created by: Barbara Whiteman

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