Golden girl Emma is on top of the world

Athlete Emma Cassell.
Athlete Emma Cassell.

A SCHOOLGIRL has won gold after competing in a worldwide competition.

Emma Cassell, 12, won first place in the 11 to 12-year-old category in the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) World School Biathlon Championship 2010.

The worldwide competition allows young athletes from across the globe to compete against each other by swimming 100 metres and running 1,000 metres, all in the hope of winning a coveted medal.

Her Hartlepool family say thousands of youngsters worldwide took part in the event and Emma could even have potential as a future Olympian, although there is not a biathlon event at the Olympic Games and only a triathlon which involves swimming, running and cycling.

Emma’s mum, Susan Cassell, 40, who works at Hartlepool’s Jobcentre, in Wesley Square, said: “Emma’s PE teacher realised that she was a good runner and when I told her that she was also a brilliant swimmer she arranged for Emma to take part in the biathlon.

“Emma started swimming when she was eight and has loved it ever since.

“Now she swims every day, except Saturdays when she comes out running with me.”

Manor College of Technology pupil Emma achieved her winning time at a tournament in Hexham last year, where she ran 1,000 metres in 3.14.28, gaining 1,368 points, and swam 100 meters in 1.06.19, gaining 1,192 points in the competition.

But she only recently received her medal as her overall score, of 2,560, had to be sent to the UIPM, which compiles the results of all the competitors from around the world and maintains the current world standings.

Susan, from Fenton Road, Hartlepool, added: “The way she’s going she could be a future Olympian. It looks like she is going to do really well, but we don’t want to push her too hard while she is young.

“I’m very proud of Emma, as are all her family. She is such a hard worker.

“I think that training is the hardest part of any sport and Emma always gives 100 per cent in anything she does, so it’s lovely that her hard work has paid off.”

Emma, who also lives with her dad, Les Cassell, 45, a council worker, and her two brothers Adam Cassell, 14, and Liam Cassell, nine, said: “I didn’t believe that I’d won at first, but once it sunk in, it felt amazing.

“Training for the competition was tough, but I like it being a challenge.

“Next I want to win gold at a national swimming competition in March next year.”