• Sixth Form
  • Sport
In Focus - Millfield Heptathlete Mayalee Osola

We sat down with Upper Sixth heptathlete and athletics captain Mayalee Osola to discuss her athletics journey and the athletics programme at Millfield.

How long have you been at Millfield? 

I started Millfield in Lower Sixth and I have been here for nearly two years now. I am currently completing my A levels in Biology, Psychology and PE.

Which athletics events do you take part in?

Heptathlon, which consist of seven events: 100-meter hurdles, 200-meter sprint, high jump, long jump, 800 meters, shot put and javelin. I also compete in solo events like hurdles during the indoor season.

How did you get into athletics?

I started athletics when I was 14 after I stopped taking part in elite gymnastics. My brothers inspired me to start, and I thought it would be a good transition from my gymnastics background as I was quite springy and energetic which helps me with events like hurdles and long jump! Enjoying such a variety of disciplines eventually led me down a path to taking up heptathlon.

What do you like most about the Millfield Athletics programme?

I like how the Millfield Athletics programme is very structured; the training sessions are well thought through so that I feel like I train with purpose. We have a relaxed relationships with our coaches, who are very inclusive of everyone. This creates a great sense of community within the athletics department - it feels like we are a team sport even though we are often competing individually!

What training programme do you follow?

The training schedule can be quite busy! Monday consists of two training sessions: at lunch I have a grass running session and after school I have a strength and conditioning session in the gym. I normally rest on Tuesdays however I sometimes choose to do a bit of mobility work. On Wednesdays, we have games in the afternoon so it's a longer session where I will focus on either long jump, high jump, throws or hurdles. Thursday includes a personal session with my coach, and I also train long jump. I have a strength and conditioning session on Friday, and then my final session of the week is a Saturday track session where I’ll focus more on aerobic work.

I train all my events equally, however the main theme of all my training is speed as it's the thing you need to nail to thrive in competition.

Do you take part in any other clubs at Millfield?

I don't due to my busy training schedule. However, when I was in Lower Sixth, I chose to do trampolining as my Millfield Activity Programme session. Given my background in gymnastics, it was a great opportunity to have a bit of fun!

What is your favourite sporting achievements/memories at Millfield?

I would say being picked for the England Athletics Youth Talent Programme, which is highly selective. Also, being selected for the British Senior Indoor Championships as a first year U20 was amazing. My selection meant that I was up against more experienced athletes, some of whom had competed at the Commonwealth Games, such as Cindy Sember. Cindy is someone who I look up to, so to compete against elite athletes like her in real life was a special experience. Lastly, being selected to be captain of Millfield Athletics was a great privilege and achievement of mine.

What different competitions do you currently take part in.

When I'm home in Bristol, I take part a lot of league competitions for Bristol and West Athletics Club, including both indoor and outdoor nationals. I’m now into my final year of competing in English School's competitions, which I have really enjoyed. I haven't taken part in any international competitions, but I hope to in the future.

What are your sporting hopes for the future?

I would like to reach my potential whilst also enjoying the sport, whether that's the Olympics or just competing at university level. I have been offered a full ride scholarship at California State so I will be signing with them soon; I am very excited to start competing in the US.

Are there any obvious changes to the programme that have been positive while you’ve been here?

There has been a change of kit which is obviously very nice for all of us; it shows that the school are putting investment into making our sporting experience better and more comfortable. There has also been changes of coaches which I feel I benefit from as we can get different advice and perspectives from each one. All coaches have different levels of experiences within different disciplines which obviously helps me a lot.

What changes would you make to the programme for the future? 

I would say to keep on encouraging the girls in sport message that Millfield has championed over the last couple of years. The programme has focused on how puberty can affect women in sport, and I think it is vital that the school continues the progress made around this topic. I can speak openly with my coach about these issues, and him knowing when I am on my cycle is important because he can adapt my session for my needs if I need a lighter session. All the coaches are extremely flexible with that, however I think some girls still may not feel completely at ease discussing those topics with their coaches. The more work the programme continues to do to break down these taboos will ensure all athletes feel like they are in a comfortable space where they can express themselves.