Kelly Proper going from strength to strength
Waterford athlete is enjoying an outstanding 2013 to date with seven national titles to her credit
Kelly Proper, left, pips Ailis McSweeney to win the Women’s 100 metre title at the National Senior Track and Field Championships at Morton Stadium, Santry, in July. Photo: Tomas Greally/Sportsfile
It was back in the dim and distant past of January 2008 that Kelly Proper first came to the attention of these awards, the Waterford athlete, who was the 2007 Junior Athlete of the Year, named sportswoman of the month after breaking the Irish indoor record for the long jump over three successive meetings.
Five and a bit years on and Proper, a mere 25, is back on our monthly list of winners after a sparkling string of performances at the National Championships in Santry.
Already 2013 was proving to be a successful one for the Ferrybank athlete, after an injury-interrupted 2012, Proper winning all three of the events she competed in at the All-Ireland Senior Indoor Championships in February – the long jump (her eighth successive All-Ireland victory), the 60 and 100 metres – and recording personal bests in two of them.
And in July she made it seven gold medals from seven 2013 National events when she triumphed again in the long jump, in the 100 and 200 metres, and anchored Ferrybank to victory in the 4 x 100 metre relay to complete her four-medal haul. Little wonder, then, she was named athlete of the championships.
Proper’s success in the 100 metres was particularly eye-catching, holding off Irish record holder Ailis McSweeney in the final 20 metres, while also managing to overcome torrential rain.
But since she began competing in the heptathlon earlier this year, stamina isn’t an issue, training at longer distances, like 600 and 800 metres, taking her fitness levels to new heights.
Back in May, Proper set a new Irish record – 5,442 points – on her first attempt at an international heptathlon in Italy, running the fastest 200 metres in the competition and producing a season’s best in the long jump. Her coaches Brid and Alan Golden would have noted that their pupil is getting the hang of this heptathlon business rather quickly.
The year, then, is proving to be a highly encouraging one for Proper, as those seven national medals and heptathlon record suggest. And she now has another gong for her collection: the Sportswoman of the Month award for July.