Abby leaps to top of UK rankings

High jumper Abby Ward.
High jumper Abby Ward.

Fast developing Pontefract athlete Abby Ward has become the number one ranked women’s high jumper in the UK.

The 17-year-old has climbed to the top of the senior women’s standings after jumping an impressive 1.86m at the North of England Indoor Championships, at the English Institute for Sport in Sheffield.

She shattered her previous personal best of 1.80m and also beat the Wakefield Harriers’ club record.

Going into the competition, Ward had changed coaches to train with Ian Hill, as well as increasing the amount of time she had been spending in training.

She answered any questions that may have been asked of her, jumping high enough to qualify for this year’s World Junior and European Youth Championships, held in Bydgoszcz, Poland and Tblisi, Georgia respectively.

However, because she is classed as too young to compete under GB Athletics selection policy, Ward is unable to compete at the World Junior competition.

But there is expected to be good news with regards to the European competition when the selection period comes around later this year and Abby has been selected to compete for England in Cardiff in an U20s indoor home international competition this coming Sunday. She will also compete in the Senior Indoor National Championships on February 27 and 28, again held in Sheffield.

Ward and her mother Frances would like to extend their thanks to former high jump coach John Matthews for giving her such a good grounding in the events. They also praised the efforts of new coach Hill for helping her to achieve top spot at the championships.