Skewen javelin star Bethany Moule was blown away by a massive personal best at the British Championships and hopes she can complete the set of Welsh records next year. The 18-year-old threw the pole 51.27 metres in the third round in Manchester to break the Welsh Under-20s record and win bronze, her maiden national medal.
Bethany holds Under-15s, Under-17s and Under-20s records, and the Neath Harriers youngster now has her sights set on the senior mark, Tesni Ward's 52.28m throw from 2011.
"It was a massive shock, I really wasn't expecting to throw that far," said Bethany, who has just left Neath College to start a pharmacy degree at Cardiff University, and is financially supported by GVC Holdings and SportsAid through the Pitching In initiative.
"I'd thrown twice before Manchester and one of them was a 44 which was a long way from what I'd hoped for. The Welsh record would mean a lot and then the benchmark for women's javelin is the 60-metre mark. I'm very proud of my performance given everything that's happened this year."
Bethany’s personal mark was all the more impressive considering she didn't throw a javelin for more than two months during lockdown. The teenager could only throw a weighted throwing ball in a field near her Neath home, unable to access the track or an area large enough to throw the full implement.
Soon she struck a deal with a local rugby club where she could practice her full run but she was thrilled with her throw in Manchester in trying circumstances.
"It was hard to know whether what I was doing with the ball was good enough because it's so different to what I normally do," she said. "I kept training five or six days a week but it was hard without a competition to aim for. I think I've used 2020 as an opportunity to progress and hopefully that can help me go further next year."
Bethany had qualified to represent Great Britain at the European Throwing Cup before it was cancelled and her attention now turns to the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
"Goldie Sayers was the last to get to 60 in Britain and no-one has got close to that in recent years," she said. "It would be incredible to be up there by 2022 and I'd love to be the one to puncture that hole and get there."
GVC announced a three-year partnership with SportsAid in 2019 to help young talented athletes, just like Bethany, realise their potential and pursue their sporting ambitions.
The investment provides funding for training, travel and equipment, and allows athletes to access mentoring by Olympians and Paralympians on topics such as nutrition, media and sports psychology.
“Having SportsAid funding there is massively helpful,” said Bethany. “Javelins cost more than 600 pounds and it’s been a massive help to know that you don’t have to worry about the cost of them.
“I would have struggled if the money hadn’t been there to afford flights and accommodation in the various places I compete in.
“It paid for my hotel when I went to Manchester last month for the British Championships, where I threw a personal best. It’s been so important for me.
“As well as the money you get a confidence boost as an athlete for knowing that SportsAid are supporting you. It gives you an extra bit of belief that you’re doing the right thing and security that they care about how you’re doing.”
GVC is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Please visit gvc-plc.com to find out more.