Chairman tips teenage star to reach Olympics in future
Sam Brereton took home a bronze medal PICTURE: BRITISH ATHLETICS
21st July 2021
By Tom Howe
Newquay and Par Athletics Club chairman Graham Hodgson has tipped high-jumper Sam Brereton for the 2028 Olympic Games after watching him take bronze at the under-20 European Championships.
The teenage star, who cut his teeth in the sport at Par Running Track, equalled his personal best jump of 2:17m to secure a spot on the podium at the prestigious event in Tallinn, Estonia.
Due to his undoubted ability and his need to test himself at a higher level, Brereton has recently stepped up to represent Midlands-based Birchfield Harriers in British Athletic League events. Having followed a winner’s medal at last month’s Cornwall Schools Championships at Par, Brereton repeated the trick at the English Schools Championships at Sportcity in Manchester before pitting his wit against the best Europe has to offer.
“We are very, very proud of him,” Hodgson told the Voice. He is such a nice lad and has no pretentiousness about him. When you say hello to him he always says hello back and asks how you are. It is not like he thinks he is an elite athlete and therefore can’t talk to you. He is like that with everybody he meets. “
“Sam is competing at a level at which he needs to be. If he was competing for us at the moment, he would just win everything and he is not going to improve by doing that. We want him to progress and are encouraging him. We see him as ours but we understand he has a bigger picture and he is a potential Olympian going forward. “
“Maybe France 2024 might be a bit early for him but certainly the one after, which is in LA, he should definitely be ready for that. It is nice to have somebody who is doing really well and performing but is also so down to earth and genuine. In that respect, he is really good and we are really proud of him. “
“We are really very conscious and have had a lot of conversations in the club about what we want to be. What we try to do is install good habits and general fitness, getting people into a sport that usually they continue with. “
“We have got the youngsters coming back both at Par and at Newquay now. We have got eight-year-olds coming up and are working right the way through.”
Brereton’s success is tinged with poignancy after having to deal with the death of Clive Marsh, his long-term coach at Newquay and Par, who passed away in March of this year.
“Clive was so much more than just a superb coach,” continued Hodgson. “He was a real character, full of life, drive and sheer enthusiasm for people and the human spirit. “
“It was amazing to see him on a Thursday engaged with the young eight to 11-yearolds and then in a flash, be able to connect with teenagers and coach them specific technical sessions. This is a truly special skill and he was a natural.”
Hodgson, who doubles up his role as chairman with that of the club’s middle distance coach, concluded by saying: “It has been a difficult time over the last 18 months, especially with Clive passing away. Clive coached Sam from eight years of age onwards. For Sam not having Clive to see him representing his country is sad, however the legacy moves on. “
“We have some great coaches that Clive tutored and mentored and who are now bringing on the next generation.”