HIGH jump phenomenon Sommer Lecky said she has been inundated with messages of congratulations after jumping a new personal best in winning a silver medal at the World U20 Championships in Finland last weekend.
In Sunday’s grand final in Tampere the supremely-gifted Castlederg teenager produced the performance of a lifetime in leaping to an incredible 1.90m to clinch runners-up spot behind Belarusion athlete Karyna Taranda.
In capturing the silver medal, Lecky had beaten the next generation of the world’s elite high jumpers and twice beat her previous best of 1.85m as well as smashing the U20 Irish record.
It was a truly remarkable display in anyone’s book and the young Derg woman, who just turned 18 last month, is still coming to terms with the sheer magnitude of her achievement.
Since arriving back home on Monday evening Sommer said she had been spending much of her time reading messages of congratulations.
“There have been so many on Facebook and social media that I simply haven’t got around to reading them all but I want to thank everyone for their support. It means a lot,” she said.
“To be honest it’s just nice to be back home now and to see everybody because I had been away for quite a few days. It’s just sunk in now what I’ve achieved and I’m really, really happy with the medal that I got. I felt good in qualifying and to jump 1.84m, the qualifying height for the final, at the first attempt meant I could conserve all my energy for the final.
“Once the Sunday came I knew anything could happen and I just focused on myself and jumping what was in front of me.
“I felt good. I was well rested and was ready to go.
“And to see the relay girls get a medal on Saturday drove me on even more.”
Before flying out to Finland, the Finn Valley athlete was showing the kind of form to suggest that something special may have been on the cards.
The young Tyrone woman jumped 1.84m to win the U20 title at the AAA in Bedford and finished runner-up in an international meeting in Mannheim. Germany. Sommer then returned home to again strike gold at the Belfast International during which she just failed to clear what would have been a PB of 1.87m.
That though was a sign of things to come and in Tampere all the pieces of jigsaw fell perfectly into place.
“My training was going really well leading up to it and at the Belfast International I was so close to jumping 1.87. I knew I could jump that and higher,” continued Sommer.
“I knew a 1.90 jump was coming. To do a PB on the big stage meant a lot because it proves I can jump under pressure when I need to.
“I was pretty relaxed on the Sunday because that’s when I am at my best. I knew I needed 1.90 to be in with a chance of a medal.
“Part of me was thinking I wouldn’t be in with a shout because there were so many good jumpers out there. But I was determined to get a PB and the medal is a real bonus.
“In high jump anything can happen. Someone can have a bad day and I could have a good day or vice-versa. The bottom line is I can only control what I can control and not what anyone else is doing. Some people didn’t think I would be up there but I surprised them and that’s what you want to do.”