A successful young long jumper and sprinter from our village is among this year’s elite athletes to be awarded Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC) funding to support their efforts and achieve their goals through an Elite Sports Grant.
19-year-old Molly Palmer, who was born and raised in Ruddington, is one of 36 local athletes from across 17 different sports to benefit from the Council’s cash – which helps them with costs such as travel, training, accommodation, competition fees and equipment.
Molly attended both James Peacock Infants School and St Peter’s Junior School, where her talents were first spotted. “I’ve always been sporty but my original love was gymnastics, where I competed for Notts and East Midlands until age 12,” she says.
“I discovered I was pretty good at sprinting and jumping whilst competing for my school and county at sports hall athletics, so my dad encouraged me to give athletics a try and took me along to a trial session with Charnwood – who train at Loughborough – and I didn’t look back!
“I was soon competing for Charnwood in the ‘Youth Development League’, travelling all over the country trying a range of track and field events – but established myself as a sprinter and long jumper.”
Molly admits sport is probably in her blood since her parents were both international gymnasts who met whilst on a training camp in Moscow. “I’d say it was initially my sprinting potential that got me noticed, but with sprinting being such an important component of long jumping, I also began to excel in the pit and over time, it became my dominant event.
“I still compete in 60m, 100m, 200m sprints and relays, but most of my time is focused on long jump.”
Molly has ranked Number One in the UK in her age group and has won national titles on numerous occasions over the last six years.
Last summer, she represented Great Britain at the Manheim International in Germany, where she won Gold, jumping a personal best of 6.28m. Also in summer 2022, whilst representing Great Britain, she qualified in second position for the final of the Under 20 World Championships in Cali in Colombia, with a personal best of 6.31m. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to carry that form into the final, though she still finished in a credible 11th place overall.
Molly says she’s very grateful for the latest funding from RBC: “I’m really thankful for Rushcliffe’s support. These grants make a big difference and help take the financial strain off my parents. I think I’ll be using it to help fund my warm weather training camp in May.”
Whilst Ruddington is still ‘home’, Molly currently lives on campus whilst studying at Loughborough University. She admits: “It’s really difficult to fit work in as I juggle my training and education, but fortunately Loughborough Uni is really supportive, and make sure my academic and athletic timetables can accommodate the demands.”
Her dad, Tim Palmer, says: “We’re obviously very proud of Molly and really enjoy watching her compete and excel in such a demanding and competitive discipline. She works so hard and really deserves the success she has achieved so far. We’re very excited to see what the future holds, and we really appreciate the vital support Rushcliffe provides in helping Molly to maximise her talent and hopefully fulfil her potential.”
Molly’s ultimate goal as an athlete? “My goal is to make the Olympics but I would also love to make a Commonwealth Games, World Championships and European Champs at Senior level.”
Graham Wright via RUDDINGTON.info