Suffolk athlete Hughes becomes first Briton to throw over 80 metres for seven years

Harry Hughes, competiing for Great Britain back in 2016

Harry Hughes, competiing for Great Britain back in 2016 - Credit: Archant

Suffolk athlete Harry Hughes put a year of injury woes behind him to throw the longest distance recorded by a British javelin thrower for seven years, at the Loughborough International on Sunday.

Harry Hughes, in action setting a new record of 78.63m at the BUCS Athletics Championships in Bedfor

Harry Hughes, in action setting a new record of 78.63m at the BUCS Athletics Championships in Bedford earlier this month. PICTURE: SPORTS BEAT/BUCS - Credit: Archant

Stowmarket-based Hughes, a former member of West Suffolk AC, launched the javelin out to a mighty 80.32 metres while representing England at the Loughborough event.

The 21-year-old, who was sidelined for the whole of 2018 with a long-standing elbow problem, is building up towards the European Under-23 Championships, to be held in Sweden in July, when he will be targeting a medal.

And, judging by his early performances of this year, Hughes looks on course to compete at future World Championships and the Olympic Games.

"My 2017 season was cut short, in early August, by my elbow, and to be honest I should have cut it short even earlier," explained Hughes.

"I had two screws put in my elbow (December, 2017), and it took a year to recover. For the first six months I could just move it everyday, but I then built it up over the following six months.

"While I was out of action, I put the focus on improving my areas of weakness, with some strength and conditioning work to make me more robust so that I can cope with the rigours of competition.

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"I changed my coach (now Mark Roberson) and that seems to be working well," added Hughes.

A former King Edward VI pupil in Bury St Edmunds, and a current student at Essex University (third year in Sports & Exercise Science), Hughes has already had a good first few months to 2019.

He threw 74.54m at the European Throwing Cup in Slovakia in March, while competing for Great Britain under-23s, having registered a confidence-boosting 78.89m distance at a Loughborough Winter Throws Open event the previous month.

Earlier this month, Hughes threw 78.63m at the British Universities Championships (BUCS) at Bedford, which set a new championship record.

Then last Sunday, he celebrated a huge personal best (80:32) at the Loughborough International, winning the competition by a remarkable 12 metres and becoming the first British male to throw over 80 metres for seven years.

The last Briton to achieve that feat was Mervyn Luckwell (Milton Keynes) with a throw of 82:15 at the Loughborough International of May, 2012.

"I knew I was in good shape in Slovakia, because I also fouled at 76 metres. I just had an off-day, that day," continued Hughes, who is now a member Newham & Essex Beagles.

"It was great to break the British Universities record, and by over a metre, and now to be the first Briton to throw over 80 metres for seven years is a big landmark for me.

"It's given me a lot of confidence, going forward.

"I had thrown 80 metres in training, so I knew that I had it in me, and now I have done it in competition.

"I am now ranked second going into the European Under-23 Championships. Usually, when going into a major championship, I just say that I am aiming to reach the final, but this time I will be aiming for a medal," added Hughes.

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