By Carmen Neat

In a short interview, Charlotte Payne shares the chronicles of her athletic journey, shedding light on the evolution of their passion and the pivotal role that the help from RPMF played in her ascent to the global stage.

Discovering the Hammer:  A Humble Beginning 

Growing up, Charlotte was no stranger to the world of sports. Encouraged by supportive parents who believed in the value of exploration, she dabbled in various sports clubs during her formative years. Athletics, however, resonated with her on a deeper level. At the age of 11, after trying their hand at sprints and jumps, she decided to join the throws group – initially to annoy her older brother who was also in that group. It was here that the foundation of their journey was laid, ‘I started with discus and shot – far too scared to attempt the hammer. The throws became so much more natural to me than the sprints and jumps did.’ Eventually, the Hammer became less scary and more exciting, and it was then that her passion was ignited. Ten years have now passed, and it has been a whirlwind of a journey.

Charlotte’s evolution in the sport has been marked by dedication, milestones, and an unswerving focus on self-improvement. Her junior years saw her competing in both the hammer throw and discus. Whilst her breakthrough came in 2016 when she clinched her first National title in the Discus, the hammer gradually claimed her focus. 

Her journey in hammer throw led her to secure her first English Schools Title in 2018. As her skills sharpened, so did her achievements. Payne talks us through her jouney, ‘I won my first English Schools Title in 2018, was selected for the European U20 Championships in 2019 and then again in 2021’. It was in 2021 that she made a pivotal decision to specialize in the hammer throw, a turning point that set her on a path to further success.

2022 stands as a watershed moment in Payne’s career. Her performances soared; starting the season with a PB of 64m, she found herself going on to throw the ‘magic 70m barrier’ not just once, but 3 times! 2022 not only saw her clinch her first British Title but also and secure her selection for her debut on the senior international stage. This year, 202,3 has proved to continue being a wave of success. She won silver at the European U23 Championships in Espoo, Finland as well as her second British Title in Manchester.

RPMF: A Pillar of Support

Behind every athlete’s success story lies a network of support, and Payne credits the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund (RPMF) for playing a significant role in their journey. Beyond the financial assistance, the faith and encouragement from RPMF have been invaluable; ‘Having the faith and support from RPMF has contributed so much over the years, not only in a financial way but also in a mental way too. When you’re younger, having an organisation like RPMF support you is the biggest confidence boost. It makes you feel valued as an athlete and often is great motivation to strive to be better.’ 

For young athletes, like Payne, this support instils a sense of value and motivation to constantly strive for excellence, a form of intrinsic motivation that we pride ourselves on helping to provide at RPMF.

Inspirations and the Drive to Make an Impact

Payne discussed with us how she draws motivation from those around her, particularly her coaches and family. Her coach, Paul Dickenson, an Olympian and BBC Commentator, serves as a role model whose achievements she aspires to emulate. Gareth Doody, her gym coach, ignites her spirit with his positivity and unwavering support. And then, there’s her family, especially her parents, who have been her steadfast pillars of support and motivation.

But Payne’s motivation isn’t just rooted in personal ambition. A lack of deaf role models during her upbringing fuels her desire to be a beacon of inspiration for young athletes. She aims to demonstrate that being deaf should never be a barrier to pursuing one’s dreams, ‘When I was growing up, I didn’t have any deaf role models to aspire to. There was barely any representation. I want to be that person for young athletes, realising that being deaf isn’t going to stop you from achieving your dreams.’

From Dreams to Reality: The 2023 Season

This year, Payne’s dreams became a reality as selectors allocated a spot on the GB team for her to compete at the forthcoming World Championships in Budapest – a possibility that once seemed distant. The call of selection felt surreal and despite the hard work and dedication, Payne sometimes grapples with feelings of being an “imposter,” an echo of her younger self. Yet, she remains resolute in their belief that she can still throw further.

With the World Championships on the horizon, Payne is poised to enter uncharted territory. The journey leading up to the championships has already been exhilarating, and the prospect of competing against the world’s best fills her with anticipation. She mentions that she is ‘ready for something I’ve never experienced before. I’m also looking forward to competing against the best in the world. Although I’ve met most of the Europeans, there’s lots of girls from US who I have looked up to for years so to get the opportunity to compete against them is going to be the best’. 

Payne’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, support, and a relentless pursuit of one’s passion. From a young girl exploring different sports to a world-class hammer thrower ready to take on the global stage, her story inspires us all to chase our dreams with unwavering determination, and we are very proud to have been able to support her in her journey.

If this story has inspired you to help fund the next generation of British athletes, please click the link below to donate.