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By Andy Baber in Birmingham
Emily Borthwick is happy again and ready to challenge England’s high jump queen Morgan Lake for her crown at the Commonwealth Games after a tumultuous year.
The 24-year-old from Wigan lost her brother Connor in November last year after he died in an industrial accident in Blackburn, leaving the Tokyo Olympian heartbroken.
Borthwick had been in good form before the tragedy, claiming her first senior medal in the women’s high jump at the 2021 British Championships to qualify for the Olympics.
But after admitting she hit rock bottom following her brother’s death, the Wigan Harrier said she is in a better place after qualifying for Saturday’s high jump final at Birmingham 2022.
“I’m really happy there was one job to do today and that was to make that final,” she said.
“I did it, I missed my first attempt at the opening bar, but I sorted myself out and I know come Saturday morning I’ll be ready to fight. I think I’ve really struggled this year.
“I had an amazing indoors and a lot of personal issues came into outdoors. It’s really interrupted my preparations, especially into world champs, but I feel you must hit rock bottom to bring yourself back up. I’ve been there and now I’m back up.
“I’m looking forward to Saturday. You must channel your emotions and use it in the right way, for me I’ve just been putting it into my training and when it comes to competitions, I’ve just been exhausted but I’ve found a balance now and I’m happy.”
Borthwick qualified with relative ease at Alexander Stadium after failing her first effort at 1.76m, making her second attempt at the height before nailing the 1.81 automatic mark first time.
“I’m looking forward to channelling it again on Saturday,” she said. “It’s incredible all my family and my friends are here and now I’ve done the job there will be more on Saturday.
“The crowd was amazing and obviously Birmingham and the UK fans, they are known for putting on a show and we’re here to put on our show for them, it’s incredible.”
Borthwick showed her potential earlier this year with a new personal best leap of 1.95m, a top five jump in the world at the time and is now targeting a medal in Saturday’s showdown where she will come up against Gold Coast silver medallist Lake and fellow England teammate Laura Zialor.
“I’ve always looked up to Morgan as she’s kind of been number one for so long and obviously you want to close that gap at some point and I feel over the last year or two I have done that,” she added.
“She’s an amazing athlete and someone who is inspiring. It’s great to be competing with her and Laura (Zialor) as well, to have three of us in the final is great for England.
“I feel like everyone’s dream is to be on that podium and I obviously want that as well. I’ve not had the best season so far, but I know you can turn it around.
"I’m feeling good, I’m happy so I’ll just see what happens.”
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