MADE FOR MULTI-EVENTS

JES­SICA HOP­KINS IS MAK­ING HER MARK AS A BUDDING HEPTATHLETE

Athletics Weekly - - Young Athlete -

“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

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