The Commonwealth Youth Games had been one of my big targets for 2011 along with EYOF. My season up to the commonwealth youth games had not been all that great. My throw wasn’t coming together as I had hoped it would and this meant I wasn’t hitting the distances that I wanted to be achieving. The only competition I finished with a slight smile on my face was the EYOF where I threw 62.72m. This was good as it gave me a lift and helped me to focus on the CYG in September.
September came around quickly and before I knew it I was meeting up with the rest of the team at the Mary Peters Track and then taking a coach down to Dublin to catch a plane to the Isle of Man. I found out that the reason for flying from Dublin was that the planes from Belfast could not accommodate everyone and would take about three planes to get us all over! We arrived in the “Isle of Man”. Before, I had thought that the weather could not get much worse than Northern Ireland... but I soon realised It could. The wind was blowing and the rain just didn’t stop.
The seaside town of Douglas was great; all the teams were allocated to different B&Bs along the sea front. All the athletes from different countries where great to talk and mix with and most spoke English.
The opening ceremony was excellent considering the size of the Isle of Man. I thought they did a great job . Lots of dancing and a well put together show.
I was not throwing until Sunday so had three days free. It was great to be able to go and watch all the rest of the team compete in there different sports. I must also add that we had a GREAT team leader for the athletics team... Elaine McCaffrey! She did a great job and sorry to her if we caused her any stress!
Before I knew it Sunday came and I was focusing for my event at 12pm that day. The weather was the worst I had seen in a long time. The wind was very strong and was against us in the javelin. The rain did not help and staying warm was hard. It was a straight final. In the final there were some high class throwers.
A South African with a PB of 83m and some Australians with PBs in the 70s along with a good few of 60m throwers. This did not bother me as I knew that if I could just hit one right then I could be up there competing for a medal. In my 3rd round throw I had a reasonable throw which was out around 60m but unfortunately my feet fell out the side of the runway making it a foul throw. In the end I finished 7th. The winner was from South Africa with a throw of 81m!
When my event was over it meant that I could just enjoy the rest of the trip. It was the last day and the closing ceremony took place. It was a very chilled out ceremony and was great to watch with fire dancing and other entertainment. After this it was disco time which was great but with a bad choice of music towards the end!
We headed home on the Monday , taking a plane back to Dublin and a bus back to the Mary Peters Track.
Overall it was a great experience even thought my throwing did not please me. The javelin is an event I love and am really aiming for a future in it. I have learnt a great deal over the last year and now know what needs addressed in order to see big improvement over the next few years. Hopefully, this will lead to Glasgow in 2014! I look forward to the winter ahead and to representing Northern Ireland in years to come!