Kilsyth athlete Holly is best Brit in Prague

Holly McArthur finished a terrific fourth in Prague. (pic by Bobby Gavin)
Holly McArthur finished a terrific fourth in Prague. (pic by Bobby Gavin)

Kilsyth teenager Holly McArthur finished a highly creditable fourth in last weekend’s Combined Events U20 International in Prague.

Competing against athletes from France, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic, the 17-year Kilsyth Academy pupil finished fourth out of 15 with a points tally of 3,859.

That also made her the top British athlete in the event and her total score moved her up to 13th on the UK all-time under-20 rankings.

Holly, who still has two years left competing in the age group, recorded a lifetime best time for her 60 metres hurdles, clocking 8.79 seconds.

She also threw the shot 10.03 metres, just five centimetres short of her best and recorded a decent 5.60 metres for the long jump.

A high jump clearance of 1.62 metres was just one centimetre off her best and a closing 800 metres time of 2 minutes 15.50 seconds completed her efforts.

Her final score of 3,859 points was 54 points better than her tally when wining the British U20 title in Sheffield recently.

“I was really happy with my performance, especially to beat the personal best I scored in Sheffield so I’m glad it all came together on the day.

“I was really surprised with my hurdles time but I was just so excited and I knew I was on for a fast time because in the warm-up I felt good.

“I was just happy to start with such a good time.”

Holly said she really enjoyed the experience of her first major competition at that level which has whetted her appetite for further success.

She said: “It was a bit weird because the officials couldn’t speak English so it was like a completely different environment altogether and we were just having to guess what they were saying.

“But it was really fun. We got to meet new competitors and became quite close to the French girls and were trying to speak French to them.

“The older athletes were also really supportive and cheered us on at all the events which really helped us, especially when it came to the 800, the last event of the day.”

Holly now plans to take a well-earned week off before deciding how many more indoor events to do before switching focus to the outdoor season.

Holly trains in East Kilbride as part of the Whitemoss CE training group and was joined in Prague by another Whitemoss athlete, Howard Bell, who was also top Brit in the men’s event.

Both are coached by Iain McEwan who said their Prague performances were a credit to themselves and their families.

He said: “I’m delighted for both athletes because, in an international event, they managed to improve on their tallies from the British Champs at Sheffield which was an excellent performance – and the whole experience is great for the future.

‘Holly’s 60m hurdles was her best performance, with a PB of 8.79.

“Howard had PBs in 60m, 60m Hurdles and his 1000m run. His overall heptathlon score of 5068 was only 10 points adrift of the Scottish record.

“For them both to be top British athletes was also very pleasing.”

Holly said: “I started out in primary school at the North Lanarkshire cross country races and from there I just joined a local running club and then got into combined events. Right now I’m just hoping to continue to develop.