STRATFORD high jumper Rory Dwyer admitted he exceeded his expectations and then some after securing a record-breaking title defence at the Sainsbury’s 2014 School Games.
Dwyer was among more than 1,600 talented athletes from across the UK to descend on Manchester to compete in 12 sports across four action-packed days at the annual event.
And Dwyer, representing England Midlands, was undoubtedly one of the stars of the show – producing a leap of 2.09m to break the School Games high jump record on his way to gold once again.
The Stratford School pupil insists the title was the perfect way to round off a season in which he has won the English Schools’ crown and represented Great Britain at the World Junior Championships.
“It’s fantastic to break the School Games record and I’m so happy with what I’ve achieved,” said Dwyer, of Stratford Athletic Club.
“Last year I got so close to equalling the record so to come back and break it is amazing. The crowd helped massively and I couldn’t have done it without their support.
“Full credit to the competitors because they pushed me along and motivated me to do well. Last week at the National Championships I actually came third so that was a kick up the backside to get ready to go and perform to my best which thankfully I did.
“This is definitely one of the things I am very proud of this season. Winning at the English Schools’ was fantastic but to defend my title and break a Games record is definitely up there.
“I think my proudest moment this year was going to Oregon and representing Great Britain at the World Junior Championships. Hopefully representing Great Britain is my future.”
Dwyer was not the only Stratford athlete to taste success at the Games in Manchester as javelin thrower Felicity Bee and fencer Will Halliwell both walked away with medals.
Bee won javelin silver with a best throw of 40.18m while Halliwell claimed individual silver – losing in the final to JJ Webb – and team with gold England in the sabre category and is now confident for the future.
“This will hold me in good stead in my career. JJ is a top athlete and competing against him is just going to help in all the other competitions that I am doing this year,” said Halliwell.
“It was great to have been part of the School Games, it was my first and last time and I really enjoyed it. I have been missing out for the last few years.”
The Sainsbury’s 2014 School Games, which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, was held in venues across Manchester between September 4-7. Visit www.2014schoolgames.com for more information.
Will Halliwell (right) in fencing action. (s)