A TEENAGE multi-event athlete from Rainford has taken a big step up the international athletics ladder by securing her first selection and appearance for the Great Britain team.
Dani McGifford claimed a silver medal in the under-20 women’s pentathlon at the England Athletics Indoor Combined Events Championships in Sheffield.
This was a high-class performance that brought the added bonus of automatic selection for the Team GB squad.
The 17-year-old, who is studying for her A-levels at Carmel Sixth Form College in St Helens, jetted out last week to Valencia to compete in a match against France and host nation Spain.
The meeting provided very useful experience for the talented teenager who finished a very creditable fourth in the heptathlon.
In Yorkshire, the youngster improved her personal best by 776 points to finish in the silver medal position with 3724 points.
Also in the competition, the Wigan Harrier set a new lifetime best in the long jump with a leap of 5.99m to place her top of the age group rankings.
She is also currently ranked number one for 60m hurdles.
Selection for the international has been Dani’s main aim, and understandably she is extremely excited at this prospect and future possibilities.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted to have achieved what I set out to this winter in gaining my first international call-up.
“I have a few indoor competitions left following the international match before turning my sights towards the summer and trying to reach the European Junior Championships.
“This will be a tough task, but I intend to focus on that now and give my all to try to make the team.”
Sharon Walls, her coach at Wigan Harriers where the young athlete trains five times a week, feels it is a fully deserved selection.
She said: “Danielle has worked so hard during the winter with the aim of peaking at the championships to make the team and she fully deserves the success she is having.”
In 2012, the teenager topped off a fantastic summer athletics season by winning the heptathlon gold medal at the English Schools Combined Events Championships, held in Bedford. This made her a double English Schools champion, adding to the long jump title she won in July.