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one gold not enough for arnold

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Hollie Arnold

14 November 2013

After winning world F47 javelin gold, Hollie Arnold (coach: Anthony Hughes) has set her sights on maintaining her place at the top of the world rankings.

The 19 year old, who set a personal best at the IPC World Championships in Lyon believes there is plenty more to come after illness disrupted her build-up to the first major medal of her career.

“I think there’s more to come in every athlete really, and I’ve definitely got bigger distances in me. Even though I’ve got a gold medal and I’m a world champion, I still know I can do better. I think it’s made me appreciate that I’ve still got more to achieve.”

“I think a lot of people might have seen it on my face when I threw the PB (in Lyon). You could just see my whole face light up and I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know how to put it into words, but it was the most amazing feeling to know that on that throw I took the gold.”

Arnold’s first major medal came after a fifth place finish at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and the Welsh-based athlete believes that not making the podium made her more determined in 2013.

“Coming away from London, I think it’s one of the most disappointing things I’ve been through. I wanted a medal and it didn’t work out that day, but I came away with a PB so I knew I had some big distances in me. I came away with a really strong mind, and didn’t want to be defeated.

“Training was even more intense and I learnt a lot in the build-up to Lyon with my glandular fever and underactive thyroid. I had to overcome them, so I guess it made me want it even more.  I wanted to show the world that I was capable of winning a gold medal and that I could be a gold medallist, so I went out there, gave it my best and it obviously worked.”

Despite only being in her late teens, Arnold is one of the more experienced athletes in the GB & NI ranks after representing her country at the Beijing Games at the tender age of 14 and believes the experience has helped her in subsequent championships.

“Beijing was really scary – I didn’t know how big it was, but for me I just used it as a more intense training session. I didn’t want to worry myself too much, but I did. It was an amazing experience, you can’t take that away from somebody.  I wasn’t there to win a medal, but just to be taken out there at such a young age gave me that better understanding of athletics and the sportsmanship, whether you win or lose.

 “You can’t prepare yourself for anything. At some stage, something can go wrong, but if you have that experience, it can help prepare you more mentally.”

Next up for Arnold is the IPC European Championships in Swansea and despite not having Welsh blood, there will be no prouder person in the stadium than her next summer. 

“The buzz in Swansea is crazy – I train with each individual medallist or not medallist and they’ve accepted me for who I am. I’ve come into Wales being English and it’s such a great feeling when everyone is together. Even if people are left behind, we still think about them – it’s such a great team and such a great move for me.

“I’m not Welsh, but I’m just as excited as the next Welsh person really. I can’t wait – it’s going to be on the doorstep and raise the profile of the sport further in the country and it’s going to be an incredible event.”

With Swansea 2014, Doha 2015 and Rio 2016 all within Arnold’s reach, the world champion is ready to use this year as a springboard to future success.

“I just want to improve more and get stronger. I’ll be going out there even more thirsty for the gold medal. A lot of people would say I’ve got a gold medal and think that’s it, no-one is going to beat me. With me I feel like I’ve got a gold medal and I don’t want anyone to take my position anymore, so I’ve got to work even harder to retain that position. I’ll do my best to stay where I am.”