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Jean Pickering Olympic Scholar Taylor Campbell: Season in Review.November 21, 2019
Taylor’s year has been full of twists and turns, so he’s been filling us in on his progress and his plans up to Tokyo…
On paper you would probably assume that Taylor Campbell’s year had been pretty smooth progress, what with the multiple personal bests he has set, and the medals he has picked up.
In actual fact, behind the scenes, it has been a rather tumultuous year. January was full of rehabilitation, and no hammer throwing, due to an elbow operation in December 2018. Whilst many athletes would have resigned themselves to missing the winter competition season, Campbell did the opposite. He not only returned to throwing, but entered new territory by earning his first senior Great Britain vest.
However, the setbacks unfortunately did not end with his elbow. A stress response in his shoulder at the end of winter training meant the No.2 ranked GB Hammer Thrower was forced to miss two months of domestic competitions.
Taylor admitted that this further setback on the brink of the summer season was very frustrating, but then explains that the adaptable mindset that he and his coach, John Pearson, have, meant that they were able to limit the damage to his training. They did so by replacing throwing sessions with Hammer specific drills. This, Campbell said, allowed him to repeatedly hit precise technical positions despite not completing a full throw.
His diligence to the hundreds of technical exercises during his time off with injury paid dividends for the Loughborough based athlete, when he was selected for the World University Championships in Naples. This would need to be a self-funded trip, making it one of the occasions where the Jean Pickering scholarship could become highly valuable.
In the competition, Campbell performed beyond expectation as he went into the final ranked 8th, and finished with a brilliant Bronze medal and a new personal best of 73.86!
After the World University Championships, the newly crowned Bronze medallist recalls feeling in a good place with his throwing. But, ever the focused athlete, he still felt he had two targets left to achieve before the year was out: to throw 74m and to medal at the British Championships.
The first of these aims was met before the championships, which served as a great confidence boost going into the final competition of the year. Of the British Championships, Taylor speaks very fondly. He remembers it as unusually sunny and warm for the UK, and his performance matched the weather. He won a silver medal in a new PB of 74.63m, behind the UK record holder, Nick Miller. It was an incredibly poignant moment as Taylor described feeling the need beforehand “to prove my 74m wasn’t a fluke.”
He has certainly proved that now, and he enters his off season in a very good place ahead of the 2020 season.
Optimisim and confidence oozes out of him, as he concludes by saying that “with less than a year until Tokyo I believe with the support from RPMF we have what it takes to be on that plane.” He thanked the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund for helping him make his season, which was plagued with challenges, such a success.
Text: Ashleigh Spiliopoulou