BANDON'S Nicola Tuthill had a weekend to remember at the European Throwing Cup in Croatia, where she recorded yet another personal best in the U23 Hammer event.
The Bandon AC performer broke the 60-metre barrier with her fifth and final throw, recording a distance of 60.67meters to move into the top five of the Irish Women's all-time hammer listings.
It has been a remarkable last 12 months for Nicola, who despite the limitations on competition and training due to the pandemic, has continued to shine at the highest level.
Last August, at the tender age of just 16 years, Nicola won her first senior title at the national track and field championships at Morton Stadium.
Her winning throw of 60.04 metres, smashed the Irish U18 women's hammer record and also recorded what proved to be the second-longest throw in the world by an U18 competitor in 2020.
A few weeks later she blitzed her rivals when winning the gold medal again at the national junior championships, where her winning throw was almost 9 metres clear of the silver medalist.
Last Saturday night in Split was the latest red-letter date in Nicola's rapidly developing career, as she finished second overall in the B final of the U23 event and also secured qualification for key upcoming championships.
"I'm really happy with the personal best throw, particularly when I haven't really trained outside of my own circle since September last year.
"It's obviously great also to move up on both the World and European U20 rankings as a result.
"Like any international competition, there were world-class athletes competing in Croatia. so it was great to be involved at that level.
"The girl who actually won the B final also won the overall event," commented Nicola.
Her excellent form means Nicola has now booked her place at both the European U20 Championships due to be held in Estonia in July as well as the World U20 championships in Kenya just a few weeks later.
"Hopefully they will all go ahead as planned.
"Looking ahead those two championships will be main targets along with trying to improve on my personal best throw. Before that, we also have the national junior and senior championships on the horizon".
Nicola's exploits in Split means she is now already within touching distance of the top three placings on the overall national hammer women's listings.
She is just 0.52 metres behind fourth-placed Emma O'Hara and within 0.87 of Aoife Hickey in their position whose throw stands at 61.54 metres.
At just 17 years of age, Nicola Tuthill from Kilbrittain is set for a hugely exciting career in her chosen field sport.