MADE FOR MULTI-EVENTS
JESSICA HOPKINS IS MAKING HER MARK AS A BUDDING HEPTATHLETE
“JESS HAS THE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL MAKE UP FOR A MULTI-EVENTER. AS IMPORTANT, SHE HAS THE WORK ETHIC TO WANT TO BE A SUCCESS”
Coach STEVE MITCHELL
AWEEK after this interview took place, Jess Hopkins achieved her target at the English Schools’ Combined Events Championships in Lincolnshire.
The 15-year-old did not win the inter girls’ heptathlon, but by finishing fourth with a personal best points total she clinched selection for the SIAB International in Glasgow in November.
In last year’s SIAB International in Athlone in Ireland, Jess finished second in the under-15 pentathlon but this time she will be an under-17 heptathlete.
She is realistic on her chances, saying: “I know things will be tough because I’ll be one of the youngest in the under-17s,” says the teenager.
Notwithstanding any trepidation there may be on her part, Jess will do her best to win a medal again – it is something she has been doing for a few years now.
Essex born and bred, Jess was once good enough to represent the East of England at basketball but athletics, which she had been dabbling in anyway, became her chief focus after a PE teacher took her on a visit to Chelmsford AC.
Steve Mitchell and Sarah Besford, who would in due course be Jess’s coaches, remember the teacher telling them: “I’ve got this girl who is showing great potential, particularly in the javelin.”
In fact it was soon evident Jess was an all-rounder and Steve saw the logic of her trying more than one discipline. Now he says: “Jess has the physical and mental make up for a multi-eventer. As important, she has the work ethic to want to be a success.”
Steve was present when her most satisfying performance to date brought Jess her first England title. That was for the under-15 hexathlon and included personal bests in hurdles, shot and long jump before her final points tally of 3769 was not far short of the UK record held by Morgan Lake.
Lake, of course, competed in the IAAF World Championships last month, when Jess paid particular attention to the winner Nafi Thiam. The Belgian, who also holds the Olympic title, is someone she can identify with because “she’s like me and doesn’t have a great 200m or 800m”.
She continues: “Which reminds me,
I’ve got to improve in those. I hope to do so with the aid of winter training, without neglecting the other things.”
Someone else Jess watches with interest is Maegan Hopkins. Her younger sister, also a pupil of Maltings Academy near their home town of Witham, is already showing great potential.
When not in training or competition,
Jess likes doing her own thing. “Spending lazy days in bed,” for example. “It’s nice to shut everything out,” she explains.
Then there is her penchant for watching horror movies. She has seen “Saw” and its subsequent sequels several times!
Combined events potential: Jess Hopkins
Talent and great attitude: Jess Hopkins