ATHLETICS: Rugby heptathlete competes for Great Britain

James Wright representing Great Britain in Spain
James Wright representing Great Britain in Spain

First international call-up for James Wright

Taking a bronze medal in the indoor heptathlon British championships earlier in the year, local athlete James Wright was always in the frame for selection for his first international representation.

This weekend saw James’ dream come to reality after selection for the Great Britain team to compete in the under 20 and under 23 international combined events match in Salamanca, Spain.

James took up athletics aged 9 after enjoying a week at the Star Track summer holiday course at the athletics track in Rugby.

He started, as most young athletes still do, competing in schools cross country races, Primary Athletics Finals and indoor Sportshall for Paddox Primary School.

James has been competing for R&N since the start, taking every opportunity possible and still holds the under 11 long jump record. He took up multi events aged 10 under the watchful eye of current club coach Dave Grum.

James has seen his club grow to gain promotion to the Premier League in the UK Junior Leagues and competed in the first ever and subsequent UK Finals.

The pinnacle of James athletics career to date was bronze medal in the 110m hurdles at the English Schools Championships, representing Lawrence Sheriff School and Warwickshire.

Now in his fourth year at Loughborough university, James travelled to Spain as part of the GB team for the annual match against teams from Spain and France.

With two of his favourite events first, James got off to a flying start on Saturday with a PB of 7.09 s in the 60m.

Long jump was the performance of the weekend finishing 4th, with a huge 7.12m jump in the final round and a 23cm PB.

As ever, multi events is a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs as athletes push their bodies to the limit over two days of competition with James shot putt not going as well as hoped with a best throw of 10.74m, a metre under his PB.

The final event of day 1 was an exciting high jump competition, which saw James narrowly miss out on a PB, clearing 1.84m.

Sitting on a day 1 points tally PB, James went into his favourite event the 60m hurdles in great spirits and still in one piece. Racing to equal his time in the British Championships earlier in the year James took 4th spot in the hurdles with 8.47s.

Then came the most traumatic event of the weekend as James had two failures at his opening height in the pole vault, meaning that a third failure would result in no points for that event. With a superb display of mental strength, James cleared the bar and then battled on with another exhausting 20 vaults to end the competition just below his PB with 3.40m. The final event of the weekend the 1k is always a true test of who has what energy left in their legs and spirit in their heart. Knowing he needed a PB to get an overall PB in the competition, James went for it from the gun, ending up just short of his heptathlon PB with a final points tally of 4,899. Overall a fantastic and memorable experience with a great show of physical and mental strength.

James will once again be hoping to inspire the next generation of athletes coaching on this summer’s three-week holiday athletics programme.