Owen Heard is a pole vaulter hailing from Camberley Athletics Club in Surrey but he’s reached a monumental rise to stardom in this event and is one of the Brits to watch for at the Commonwealth Games.
Attending Loughborough University, his coach Kate Rooney has aided him in becoming an international athlete. What makes Heard even more of an outstanding Commonwealth Games story is that he was considering hanging up his spikes just a few years ago.
His turnaround is a testament to his mental fortitude and dedication, and his place in the England team is thoroughly deserved.
Owen Heard’s season so far
Being a hurdler as well as a pole vaulter, the 20-year-old has competed at a few events so far this year. Personal bests in the 60m and the 60m hurdles in February this year illustrate that he is at the top of his game in terms of speed.
He also recently ran 110m hurdles at a National Athletics League Premiership meet and took home second place in the process. His well-roundedness and athleticism have certainly helped the power of his vaulting.
For the pole vault, Heard went into this year having cleared 4.90m – far from a mean feat in itself. His pulsating run-up the rankings began in June as he cleared 5.00m for the first time at the BUCS championships, followed by a huge personal best of 5.27m at a National Athletics League meet. Despite this rapid increase, he still had work to do to make the English team.
Heard was invited to the World Athletics Continental Tour event in Manchester, and was set to compete against some of the best athletes in this event from across the continent. Coming off of a 5.36 personal best just days before in Loughborough set the tone, but he knew that there was still work to do. Incredibly, he managed to clear 5.45m – the Commonwealth Games Standard.
With a 55cm personal best already in his locker so far this year, I would not be at all surprised if Owen Heard increases his credentials yet further before the games kick off in Birmingham this summer.
Owen Heard’s chances
Currently third in the UK rankings, Heard is up there with the best in this event. As a Commonwealth Games debutant, his chances of coming home with silverware are reasonably limited but are certainly not zero.
With the hard work already reflected in his previous improvements, he will certainly be one to watch. As such a young developing athlete, his standings will only improve before the games, and he may step up on the big stage to deliver a performance to remember.