14th October 2020
FUTURES IN FOCUS - SERENA VINCENT
Serena Vincent (coach: Andrew Vincent / Bronwin Carter; club: City of Portsmouth) hopes that she can build on a strong 2020 season as she moves into her first year at Under-23 level next year.
In a season that has had its ups and downs for many, Vincent considers herself to have had a good year, capped off by moving fifth on the all-time British Under-20 rankings last month, breaking the 16.00m barrier for the first time in the process.
Her 16.10m effort at her final competition of the year in Portsmouth ensured she ended her time as a junior just over a metre outside Sophie McKinna’s British record of 17.12m.
In addition, the City of Portsmouth athlete claimed her first medal at the senior British Athletics Championships, throwing 15.60m to secure third spot on the podium and bag herself a first senior medal in the process.
Reflecting on the 2020 season, Vincent assessed: “I think like a lot of athletes I found it difficult because it’s something that none of us have had to experience before. At first I was alright with it, when we went into lockdown I was fortunate because I had a shot put circle in my garden and I was able to have gym sessions at home, so training didn’t change that much.
“When the World Under-20 Championships got cancelled, I realised I hadn’t got anything to train for, the first time I’d faced that. There had always been something to focus on and having that cancelled was a bit odd because I questioned why I was training.
“I lost a bit of motivation and took a week off but got back into it quickly and when the lockdown restrictions were eased I managed to go to one of the pilot competitions and it was a relief to go out and compete.
“It was a bit different but I was definitely ready for it. I wanted to be out there and I wanted to compete. I hadn’t been in a proper circle for a while but I was excited to get out there and have some fun with it.
“I saw no issue with me not achieving my goals and when I did break 16.00m that was a massive relief for me. I was happy with it because it was what I wanted to do and it was nice to know that my year hadn’t been affected too much.”
Already, she has claimed the British Under-18 shot put record, along with the British Under-17 indoor and outdoor records, the 18-year-old is out to change people’s opinions of shot putters and is already leaving an imprint on the sport.
Add into that her international experience at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas and British vests at the European Under-18 and European Under-20 Championships and she has a junior career most would envy.
Being able to go against the norm and prove doubters wrong is something that she hopes she can continue to do as she makes the step up from Under-20 to Under-23 level in 2021.
“I always like to prove people wrong. I was told when I was younger I was too small and I wouldn’t make it so I quite like to prove them otherwise. That’s their opinion but I’m going to do what I want to do anyway.
“I quite like it when people tell me they don’t think I’m a shot putter because I’m proving that I can change people’s views on it. They all think you have to be this massive person to throw the shot and I’m trying to tell them that you don’t.
“If I’m going into a competition and people are questioning why I’m there because I’m small etc. but it adds fuel to the fire and I let my throws speak for themselves, showing people what I can do and it eggs me on,” she added.
Having the support of the governing body is something that she is grateful for and hopes that moving forwards, she can continue to repay the faith shown in her as she continues on the upward trajectory in her career.
She said: “They are a massive support to me and I’m really lucky to be on that programme because there are loads of talented athletes and I do really appreciate the fact that they think I do have potential. Any support that we can get from British Athletics is greatly appreciated and I think to have them backing me makes me feel proud.
“I’ve had a lot of support when it comes to nutrition and the psychology aspect of it, I’ve always thought that I’m alright at handling my head but they’ve managed to give me a couple of pointers and bits that have helped me.
“The testing is also really useful as a lot of athletes don’t have the facility to be able to do that at their club or elsewhere so that’s another really beneficial aspect. The fact that the workshops are tailored person-to-person is also something that’s really beneficial and is bespoke to each individual, which is massive for us at this stage in our careers.”
Looking ahead into 2021, Vincent outlined the goals that she hopes to achieve in what will be another big season for her. Alongside competing at major competitions, she wants to continue to prove doubters wrong and showcase her talents to the world.
“I want to qualify for the European Under-23 champs but I want to get myself qualified for the senior European Championships as well, I think the qualification distances are only 10cm apart or so but I want to hit those marks as early as I can.
“But I’d also really like to go to the World University Games next year. I don’t want to put pressure on myself because I’ll be three years younger than everyone else in my age group but I still want to be a contender,” she added.