Double record breaker Holly on track to become Euro star

Kilsyth teenager Holly McArthur has smashed the Scottish under-20 heptathlon record for the second weekend running.

Double record breaker Holly McArthur  (pic by Bobby Gavin/Scottish Athletics)
Double record breaker Holly McArthur (pic by Bobby Gavin/Scottish Athletics)

The 17-year-old broke the record, which had stood for 34 years, by amassing 5,332 points on her way to winning the English Athletics championships in Bedford.

And last weekend at an international competition in Tenerife she did it again, this time setting a mark which qualifies her to compete, if selected, in next month’s European Junior Championships in Italy.

Holly, who has just left Kilsyth Academy and will start at Strathclyde University in September, racked up five personal bests out of seven events at Bedford.

And she then added a further four in Tenerife, as she upped her new record to 5,478 points on her way to a fifth- placed finish.

Holly said: “It was quite windy at Bedford and I never even focussed on the Scottish record until the final event, the 800 metres, when I knew I had to run 2-20 or less.

“My standout performance was probably my hurdles because I ran a PB into a strong win. All my other events were quite consistent, either a pb or close to a pb.

“In Tenerife my hurdles was probably a standout again because I ran another pb by just under half a second.

“After day one I worked out what I had to score to get the Euro junior standard and that I had to score close to my pbs - and I got pbs in all my events.”

While the team for the Euros in Grosseto on July 20-23 has still to be confirmed, it’s believed that Holly’s achievements in meeting the standard of 5,450 and securing a top-two finish at the English championships will be enough to guarantee selection.

Holly’s coach Iain McEwan was full of praise for Holly’s achievement in setting a new national record twice in nine days - and revealed that she even had to do an ‘extra’ event in Tenerife.

He said: “Holly made what we thought was a great start early on the Saturday with 14.22 for a PB in the hurdles - until the officials decided there had been a false start, which hadn’t been picked up, due to a recall gun malfunction.

“The athletes had a 30-minute break and then went back into the 38-degree heat, but Holly kept it together and ran even faster for a superb 14.06.

“A 1.61m in the high jump; a shot to 10.97; and 24.95, were all close to her existing PBs.

“That meant Holly was ahead of her points tally from the previous week in Bedford but, chasing the 5450 Euro U20 standard [required by British Athletics], she had more PBs with a 5.78m in the long jump and 35.58m in the javelin.

“There was still work to be done in the 800m but again she came up with a PB at 2.13.69 and that took the points tally to 5478 - almost 150 more than the week before.

“I am absolutely delighted for her to enjoy this kind of success because she works very hard at her athletics and is improving in a number of events, as the PBs these past two weekends have shown.”