Abi’s going upwards with the Pembrokeshire Harriers!

Abi’s going upwards with the Pembrokeshire Harriers!

Abi in action on the high jump
Abi Buxton
Abi shows her sprinting skills



Abi Buxton is a talented athlete with the Pembrokeshire Harriers and at 16 years of age is beginning to excel in her chosen discipline of high jump but also thinking of taking on the challenge of the pentathlon, where she would add the long jump, shot putt, hurdles and 800 metres as other real challenges.
Abi has been involved with the Harriers since she was Abi’s going upwards with the Pembrokeshire Harriers!eight years old and says that she has been lucky to hove such excellent advice from coach Liz Rowland, alongside terrific support from Pete Freeman,  Nigel Rowland, Huw Morgan and Jo Salmon, plus all the back room staff and everyone else that makes up a real family club.
There has been a lot of hard work in the intervening years, with lots of success and medals, a few plateaus and plenty of good fun, but always with new challenges and success that commitment brings.

Other sports

Outside of her athletics, Abi also plays netball as a goal shooter and hockey at full back for Sir Thomas Picton School, enjoys cross fit training, football and rounders as part of her PE course at GCSE level, and rock climbing on the cliffs around Porthclais as another challenge.
She does this with her father Stuart, who played cricket in his younger days and now enjoys the challenge of climbing, but always with the emphasis on safety as he joins Abi at Porthclais on weekends. Abi’s mother Toni and older sister Katy are not so involved in sport but Mum is a great chauffeuse and Katy always gives support as well!

Abi tries the scissors kick – and then ‘The Flop’

Abi’s first involvement with high jumping came when she was a pupil at Prendergast Junior School in Haverfordwest and her teacher, Mrs Reynolds, was looking for someone to high-jump for the school in the local sports.
Abi was happy to give it a try, using the old scissors kick to get over the bar, and did her school proud by winning the event.
“I really enjoyed it,” Abi said, “and so mum took me along to the Pembrokeshire Harriers and I was immediately made to feel really welcome.
“It took about seven sessions for me to develop the Fosbury Flop technique, focussing on the run up, where my feet should be on takeoff, and correct landing with safety in mind.
“Liz was amazingly patient with me and it was a great thrill when I successfully managed to do a good ‘Flop’ and the bar stayed on!”

Louise Arthur competition and Youth Development League

Abi started competing in events like the Louise Arthur League when she was nine and enjoyed the trips off with the other young competitors.
“There is a real family atmosphere in the club and we were encouraged to try our hand at other events because simply taking part in any race earned a point for the club.
“Perhaps that is where I started to develop an interest in the pentathlon and this summer I might just give it a try, although I will need to work extra hard on my shot-putt and, like a number of high and long jumpers will find the 800 metres a real killer!
Now that she is too old for the Louise Arthur League, Abi competes in the Youth Development League and in one of the competitions last season, at Yeovil, she achieved her personal best jump of 1 metre 58cms. Representing West Wales, Abi also competed at venues right across South Wales.

Highs and lows – and the odd wetting or two!

 Abi’s going upwards with the Pembrokeshire Harriers!
“It’s always great to achieve a new PB because sometimes it seems really top form is a long time coming but I just have to keep training hard because I know the rewards will follow.
“Like the season at under 13 level when I moved up from 1 metre 25cms to 1 metre 45cms in just four months, whilst another time I didn’t manage to get a new PB throughout a frustrating season.
“There was also a time when I travelled to a competition, decided to try the long jump and pulled a muscle and then missed out on my high jumping!
“There are also laughs aplenty as you learn from experience, like the time I didn’t take good advice to take a change of clothing and it rained heavily just before my event started. We carried on but when we landed on the mat our heads were almost under water, it was like swimming – and I had to sit in my wet gear for the rest of the day. I won’t make that mistake again!”

Good friends in intense competition

One of the plusses about competing regularly is that the girls get to know each other and although they are rivals they establish friendships that are long-lasting. In Abi’s case she often competes against Lauren Davey (Carmarthen) and Charlotte Phillips (Harriers) whose respective PBs are 1 metre 62cms and 1 metre 53cms, so there is always healthy competition between them.
Indeed, there was intense competition between Abi and Lauren at last season’s Welsh Championships at Leckwith Stadium in Cardiff where Abi jumped really well to achieve 1 metre 50cms at her first attempt – and came second as a result.
“I was pleased,” said Abi, “but I’m aiming for a gold medal this year!”

High praise from Liz

And that is why Abi has trained well throughout the dark winter months and earns praise from coach Liz, who told us,
“Abi is great to have in our high-jumping squad because she not only sets the tone with her commitment and high skill levels but she is also excellent at coaching the younger newcomers who react well to her guidance.
“She is a credit to herself and her family with her quiet, no-nonsense approach which is going to serve her well in the future.”

Looking forward to the future

At present Abi is undertaking her GCSEs and then aims to study ‘A’ Levels at Pembrokeshire College in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and English with the aim of eventually taking a course in midwifery at Southampton University or Kings College, London – with Sports Science still as a back-up option at this stage.
“But wherever I go, I aim to continue my athletics and gain my coaching qualifications,” said Abi, “so that I can help youngsters have the necessary good advice and encouragement that I have had at Pembrokeshire Harriers.
One only has to chat to Abi Buxton for a short while, as we did, and see her enjoyment and sense of purpose – and the next generation of young high jumpers will be in good hands with people like her staying involved!