Ben East throws a "huge personal best" at UK Athletics Championships
Team Kennet’s Ben East wowed everyone – including himself and his mum, Jenny – when he threw a personal best 73.49 metres to finish second in the men’s javelin at this weekend’s UK Championships in Manchester.
East made the step up to adult competition in some style. He finished more than two metres ahead of the third placed athlete, Daniel Bainbridge.
“After I threw that big throw I walked over to my coach and we were totally speechless,” East said.
“I was absolutely thrilled to have pulled it out the bag at that level, in that competition and on that day.”
It’s been a busy time for East – last week, he completed the last of his 13 A-Level exams.
He said: “The stress of exams was more than the stress of competition.
“It was more out of my comfort zone, I’m not used to that environment.
“I made sure not to miss any training sessions!”
There won’t be much time for East to catch up on his sleep. He’s achieved the qualification distance for the Under-20 World Championships in Colombia which are scheduled to take place in August.
Before that, he’ll travel to Finland for a training camp – javelin is one of the most demanding, and expensive, sports.
East said: “It’s really hard to balance everything, it’s not as simple as qualifying and jumping in a car to go.”
It means that “sponsorship is absolutely vital” to East.
“If I didn’t have sponsorship I’d be at a big disadvantage in terms of training and recovery,” he said.
East and his team are always looking for new sponsors – it might, in time, be the reason he makes it to the top.
East, who has been in the sport since he was 11, can count on the invaluable support of his friends, family and coaches – Team Kennet’s Luke Angell has been there from the beginning.
“He’s been my coach for eight-and-a-half years now,” he said.
“I attribute pretty much everything I’ve achieved in javelin to him.
“Our relationship is a friendship, it’s much more than a coach athlete relationship, it just works.”
For East, the mental side of his sport is as important, if not more important, than the physical.
He said: “It’s much harder to train, it’s not a tangible thing, but it’s absolutely essential.
“It’s vital to keep calm under pressure and to be able to accept defeat and setbacks.”
East knows, then, that the road to the top will be filled with challenges – the hard work is only just beginning.