Award joy sees high-jump champion Izzie hit new heights

AS a national high-jump champion, Izzie Brown is used to hitting new heights.

And now she believes winning the No1 prize at the Chichester & District Youth Sport Achievement Awards can inspire her to go on reaching new goals in her quest for stardom.

The 16-year-old Chichester High School for Girls student, who has won the national under-17 high-jump title, was voted by Observer readers as the winner of the Dennis Polhill Award for youth sport achievement.

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It also secured her a £250 cheque from the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory to help with training costs.

She polled nearly 50 per cent of a record number of votes received – and modestly said after picking up the prize in front of a huge audience at the ceremony at Westgate Leisure that she hadn’t expected to win as all her rivals for the award were so good in their own fields.

Shooter Rob Dowling and skier Yasmin Cooper ran her closest while five sailors – Stephi and Alex Orton, Abbie Page and Ruth and Tess Allan – all won plenty of votes themselves.

But none could stop Izzie.

She has performed superbly in high-jump contests in recent years and last year she came third in the English schools’ championships and first in the UK school games before this year’s national under-17 win.

Izzie, who lives in Middleton, said her next big target was to qualify for the Youth Commonwealth Games on the Isle of Man in September.

She needs to up her best jump of 1.72m to around 1.75 to make it. Brown also completes in indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon.

“I can’t believe I’ve won the Dennis Polhill Award,” she said.

“I didn’t expect it – everyone else in the voting was so good.”

She even took the trouble to write to the award scheme organisers afterwards, saying: “I’m lucky to have so much support from all the people who help and motivate me.

“The award makes me feel all the hard work has been worthwhile and I will to continue to do my best, and train hard.”

Brown, who dashed to the awards after a second place at the Sussex schools championships, singled out coaches Marcus Smith, Simon Northcott, Paul Wallis and Dave Churcher for special praise.