Libby identified as one of top triathlon talents in country

EMERGING FORCE -- 15-year-old Kirkby schoolgirl Libby Coleman, who is making a splash as one of the brightest triathlon prospects in the country.
EMERGING FORCE -- 15-year-old Kirkby schoolgirl Libby Coleman, who is making a splash as one of the brightest triathlon prospects in the country.

An ambitious 15-year-old from Kirkby has been identified as one of the most talented youngsters in the country in the challenging sport of triathlon.

Libby Coleman, who thinks nothing of getting up early to train at seven in the morning before school, has made giant strides since taking up the sport five years ago.

Now her commitment has been rewarded with selection for the Triathlon England National Talent squad in her first year of eligibility.

Only a small but select number of athletes are picked each year for the squad, which supports and develops the best 15-to-19-year-old triathletes in England, with the aim that they move forward to success on the global stage.

Libby, of Frederick Avenue, is far too modest to admit that this could ultimately mean representing Great Britain at the Olympic Games and following in the footsteps of the Brownleee brothers in the sport that combines running, swimming and cycling. But that is now a realistic possibility for the Ashfield Academy student.

“She likes to keep things low key,” said proud mum Sarah Bottomore. “But she is very committed in what she does, and puts in a lot of hours.”

Libby, who also has the support of dad Jamie Coleman, first caught the sporting bug when joining a swimming club as a six-year-old. Soon, she was picked for the county.

“She became interested in running when she took part in a school cross-country race and did really well.,” recalled mum Sarah. “One day, someone was handing out flyers advertising a triathlon at Leicester. She decided to give it a go and won it. She has not looked back since.”

Libby made such good progress that, at the age of 13, she was selected to join the East Midlands Triathlon Academy. Now she has caught the eye of the national selectors after impressing with a summer of racing in the British Triathlon Super Series, as the youngest in her age group and competing for the first time at such a lofty level.

On her debut, she won a silver medal in the British Duathlon Championships, which consisted of a run and bike-ride in the grounds of Windsor Castle, and a few weeks later, she won the British Aquathon Championships, combining a swim and a run.

In all, the Super Series comprised six races, and after two wins and a second, Libby was only pipped into second place overall because her arch rival, Erin Wallace, had won the tiebreaker race.

Libby, who trains 11 hours a week, also represented Nottinghamshire at the English Schools Championships this year and finished sixth in the national cross-country championships.

She is currently a member of Sutton Harriers, Sherwood Colliery Swimming Club, the 4lifetri triathlon club and Beacon Hill Striders running group, based in Loughborough.