Coach delighted to see Chari Hawkins’ dedication rewarded as Bath alumna secures Team USA heptathlon spot for Paris 2024 Olympics

02 July 2024

Chari Hawkins’ qualification for the Team USA track and field squad heading to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games is reward for the University of Bath alumna’s  “super focussed and super positive” approach to athletics.

That is the view of Colin Bovell, Head Coach Track and Field at the University, who worked with heptathlete Hawkins from 2017-18 while she combined her sport with a Postgraduate degree in International Education & Globalisation.

“Chari was always an exceptional talent and had a fantastic attitude,” said Bovell. “We provided some guidance on technical events, such as shot put and hurdles, and she added 200 points to her heptathlon score while here which marked her out as someone who could really challenge internationally.

“She has put another 200 points on since and is going to the Olympics, which is an outstanding achievement. She is 33 now and most people would think that is coming to the end of their career but Chari is still doing personal bests and that’s thanks to continually working hard and being positive.

“She is super focussed and super positive all the time which is exactly what you need if you are working through seven events in heptathlon. There is so much hard work involved in competition and training, you pick up injuries, and you need so much mental strength because seven events can run you down. That mentality has got Chari to the Olympics after such a long time and such a lot of effort.”

Hawkins, who was supported by a Santander Sports Scholarship while studying in Bath, secured her Paris place by winning silver at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon with a new overall best score of 6,456 points.

Chari Hawkins won long jump gold at the 2018 BUCS Outdoor Championships
Chari Hawkins won long jump gold at the 2018 BUCS Outdoor Championships

That came after she set new PBs in the shot put, javelin and 800m, the latter being particularly pleasing after she dropped out of medal contention in the last discipline of the heptathlon at the 2023 IAAF World Championships in Hungary.

“I feel like I missed out on a medal in Budapest because of the 800m but I think I proved to myself [at trials] that I have what it takes to do it when it matters,” said Hawkins.

“Being an Olympian – oh man, it’s so cool! In 2021 I thought I was going to be done, that was going to be my last year, and remember going home [from trials] saying ‘I’m never going to be an Olympian’. To be able to add that now is super special and I’m beyond grateful.”

Hawkins represented Bath in BUCS student-sport competition during her time in the UK, winning long jump gold and 100m hurdles silver, and smashed a record that had stood for 30 years when she won the heptathlon title at the 2018 England Athletics Combined Events Championships.

Click here to find out more about the athletics programme at the University of Bath.

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