GRAYS hammer thrower Katie Head won the English Championships to complete a remarkable season of success.
There can be few athletes in the whole country, in any age group, who have dominated their event as the 15-year-old has done.
In an unbeaten summer, Katie has been crowned the Essex, Southern, English Schools and English under-15 hammer champion.
She sits on top of the UK rankings, not just for her own age group but in the under-17 age group too.
The William Edwards School pupil even smashed the all-time British record on her way to winning the Southern title last month.
“It has been special,” said Katie. “There has been me and the Ollie (Olivia Stevenson who finished behind Head in both the English Schools and English Championships) and then that’s it.
“It would have been nice to have had a bit more competition but it’s been amazing, particularly winning at English Schools and breaking the GB record.”
Impressively, Katie has thrown over 50m in every competition since May.
To put that into some context, only 10 other throwers in British history for her age group have ever thrown over 50.
And her British record throw of 56.89m was nearly a metre and a half further than the record.
“That was quite a surprise,” said Katie. “I had three warm-ups before and couldn’t throw over 50m and then I came out and with the first my first attempt threw 56m. I remember thinking ‘OK, where did that come from?’ “But dad has always said to me ‘you can throw however far you want’.”
Dad to Katie and her older brother Tom – who himself is ranked number two in the country for under-20 men’s hammer – is Paul Head. He won a silver and bronze at Commonwealth Games in the hammer for England and went to the 1992 Olympics. So the pair have had no better person to learn the craft of hammer throwing from.
“I actually started when I was about nine or 10,” said Katie. “My dad had an old two kilogramme hammer, which I still use sometimes, and I did a couple of standing throws with that. Within four or five months I had tried my first turn.”
Katie’s victory at the English Championships on Saturday, where she threw 51.29m, was her last of the season and her and Tom have now been given two weeks off.
“Dad has have given us a well-earned rest,” she laughed. “But we start swimming again now and throughout the winter.
“Both me and Tom have swum since we were little. Mum wanted us to swim and it has progressed from there.”
The pair both compete for Basildon & Phoenix, who train at the town’s Sporting Village, and Katie believes the pool training benefits their hammer throwing.
“We’re both ‘flyers (butterfly racers), but we’re 50m sprinters. Two lengths is enough for us! But I think it has helped our throwing, swimming is definitely why both mine and Tom’s back and shoulders are so strong and that’s an advantage for the hammer.”