Charley O’Neill – Pole Vaulter

When I received the money at the end of 2020 I was 3rd in the country as an under 15 and it was going to be difficult to maintain that position as in the age group up I would be the youngest person and there was some very good people in that age group.  I was looking at being 7th in the under 17 age group at the very best.  2021 was a difficult year with very few competitions taking place and for me personally 2020 and 2021 have been extremely tense.  As a child in care there are individuals who make my life difficult and I really struggle mentally to block out my past. 

I started the season really low at 3.10m which was 15cm below my personal best and at this point my new poles had not arrived.  This was really disappointing as was my position at English School where I should have been 2nd but came 7th.  I am trying really hard not to let things get on top of me but I am not always successful and I believe this is what happened at English School which unfortunately took place at a point in my life where I had had some disturbing news. 

I did go on to win the Midlands under 17 and under 20 championships and if the Welsh international had taken place I would have got the England kit but it did not due to covid.

 Yet another disappointment.  I also achieved the standard for the under 20 and the under 17 English championships and was 3rd at the under 17 and got a bronze medal and 4th at the under 20. 

I am Warwickshire schools champion and under 17 Warwickshire champion and I hold the Warwickshire school and county record.   

I was selected to take part in the UK School Games where I got a silver medal without my coach being present (because coaches were not allowed in due to covid).  This was probably my most impressive achievement of the year as I was only 15 at the time and some of the other girls on the podium were 3 years older than myself and I would not have normally competed against them but because of covid the age group was extended meaning they were able to compete.  It was the most amazing experience and one I hope to repeat this coming year

This year I am hoping to be 1st as an under 17 in the country.  I am currently 28th in the country overall (this includes all age groups) and this has improved every year.  If I can get another 20cm PB this would take me to about 15th in the country overall and will put me 20cm away from the European junior qualification height of 3.90m which is what I would need the following year to be selected.  I was selected to take part in the National Talent programme where I go and train with Kate Rooney (Dennison) to improve my fitness and run style.

I am going to work really hard this year to make sure I make progress, however I would really like to do some sessions with a sports therapist to help me with my nerves during competition and with dealing with issues in other areas of my life.  I would also really like the next two poles so that my progress is not delayed.  Thank you very much for your support and if you feel that you can help me with either of these two things please let me know.