ISOBEL Ives has never had to dip in an 800m race before, but she was glad she did after winning a bronze medal in the intermediate girls race by the breadth of a vest.
The 16-year-old Basildon AC athlete admitted for a split second she thought she had lost her chance of a medal as three rivals got away from her in the home straight.
But in the final 25 metres, Ives dug deep into her energy reserves to pull herself back towards the bronze medal and then threw herself at the line.
“I just did not want to come fourth,” she said. “I can remember the other girl coming round me in the last 50 metres and just saying ‘don’t come fourth’. That’s the worse position to finish in the final.
“For a split second I thought that’s what was going to happen but I managed to come back and dip for the line.”
And that dip is what won Ives a medal, by two-hundreths of a second as she finished in 2m 10.56s.
“I thought I had come fourth when I crossed the line,” Ives said. “I looked at my mum and she didn’t know and I told myself I had finished fourth and that way I wouldn’t have been disappointed.
“The wait to find out seemed like ages, it probably wasn’t, but when the result came through I was just so relieved and so happy.
“Even after the officials said it I still wanted to see it in writing because I couldn’t believe it and even in the medal ceremony I was waiting for someone to say it was wrong!
“It was the first time I’ve ever dipped for an 800m – and I’m glad I did.”
The medal was Ives’ second in successive years at the English Schools after the silver she won in the same category last year.
Twelve months ago, she was flying and ran a stunning 2m 7.43s to win silver, but this year, with her GCSE exams the priority, her approach has been slightly different.
“I have not raced as much because my exams have been the priority,” she explained. “I didn’t want to go to meetings and have a whole day without revising. That’s been the big difference between this year and last.
“I hadn’t really been following the national rankings though I knew I was not near the top but I was hoping to win a medal again. I wasn’t sure how realistic that was but if you go into things with too low expectations you are not going to have success.”