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Matthew storms to 1,500m gold at English Schools Championships
1:28pm Thursday 12th July 2012 in General Sport
ST HELENS middle-distance runner Matthew Shirling insists he has achieved everything he set out to do this season after storming to gold at the Aviva English Schools’ Track and Field Championships.
The 16-year-old took to the track at Gateshead International Stadium looking to enact revenge on Liam Dee after his rival had got the better of him in May at the School Games at the London 2012 Stadium.
And that is exactly what Shirling did, the Hope Academy pupil clocking a time of 3mins 49.15secs to take the inter boys 1,500m gold, forcing Dee to settle for silver.
Shirling had to dig deep to see off the challenge of Dee, crossing the finishing line just one second shy of his personal best.
But after finishing on the top step of the podium in the north east, Liverpool Harrier Shirling admits he can now rest easy after ending his season on the ultimate high.
“The idea was to win obviously so I’m pleased I’ve done well and what I wanted to do,” said Shirling, who follows in some illustrious footsteps by claiming a medal at the English Schools – London 2012-bound Jess Ennis, Jack Green and Andy Turner having all started their careers at Aviva Athletics Academy schemes.
“I thought the only way I could win with Liam being such a good athlete was just to go for it.
“I had a faster PB than him originally and thought I’m just going to have to replicate my PB so went for it from the gun but I went too fast and I almost did a sub-two minute 800m with a 59sec first lap.
“I thought I had gone too fast and overcooked it but I just had to maintain it and I was looking at the screen and I could see him coming up behind me but I just had to go for it.
“I’ve got third in the all-time championship record and a medal. At the start of the season I said I’d go under 3mins 50secs and I’d win a major championship and I’ve done both of them already so I could call it a day.”
Elsewhere, Rainhill High School’s Liane Bibby won senior javelin bronze, while there was more gold for Sale as De La Salle’s Danielle McGifford won the senior long jump with a new personal best of 5.90m.
“I am really happy to not just win the gold medal but to do it with a personal best, it feels amazing,” 17-year-old McGifford said.
“It’s great fun to be part of a team and one day I hope to be part of the Aviva GB & NI Team as a professional athlete. I am so excited that I’ll be watching my heroes this summer and I hope it will make a huge difference for our athletes to know that we will all be backing the team.”
Aviva has been backing the British athletes and the GB & NI Team since 1999. Now it’s your turn. #BackTheTeam or search for ‘Aviva Athletics’ on Facebook