Polly Maton cast aside A-Level disappointment in style with a double dose of medal delight at the World Para Athletics European Championships.
Off-track studies have limited the Urchfield athlete’s time in action but that didn’t affect her one bit in Berlin, claiming bronze medals in both the T47 long jump and 100m.
In truth, Maton surprised herself with her achievements in a competition she entered with little expectations, particularly with both events falling in the same day.
But with two bits of bronze now lining her luggage, the 18-year-old believes that can certainly offset some disappointment from earlier in the month.
“It has been a bit of a mad day. I was a bit concerned coming in with two events in the same day,” she said.
“Leading up to this I didn’t know how I was going to perform so to come away with two bronze medals is amazing.
“I didn’t get the A-Level results I wanted so it has been a bit of a tough time, I had to take a month off to take my exams and even leading up to that, I had to cut down on training a lot.
“So coming here I had only competed once in the 100m and once in the long jump so I had no idea what to expect.
“It was frustrating, when you’re trying to compete at this level to come in with that small amount of practice, you don’t feel comfortable mentally even if you do physically so I was feeling nervous because of that.”
Still a teenager, it’s easy to forget that Maton is still in the infancy of her career after a wonderful performance at London 2017 where she became a world silver medallist.
Before that came her first Paralympic Games at Rio 2016 but Berlin provided a fresh challenge, with her personal best long jump performance of 5.28 metres showing she was more than up for it.
It proved less than half a metre away from winner Angelina Lanza but Maton was far from done there, crossing the line third in the T47 100m to claim her second bronze medal just a few hours later.
“The time was slow and I wasn’t really in the form, so to come away with the 100m bronze is a very pleasant surprise,” added Maton, who was born without part of her right arm.
“I think the long jump is becoming more of my focus, it is where I can make the most improvements. I’m not going to dismiss the sprinting but I gave everything my all in the first event and wasn’t going to hold anything back.
“It’s the first time I’ve done two in one day at an international level, it was a tough day but thoroughly enjoyable.
“It gives me a huge amount of confidence, these are my second and third senior medals so to be able to come away with those really backs up what I’ve been doing and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
British Athletics works alongside UK Sport and the National Lottery to support the delivery of success at the world’s most significant sporting events, principally the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They do this via the funded initiative, the World Class Programme, one part of the British Athletics pathway.