WHAT a week it was for Bursledon shot put sensation Serena Vincent.

The 16-year-old went into Saturday’s Hampshire Schools’ Championships at Basingstoke having smashed the UK all-time record twice in the space of just five whirlwind hours.

And, although she didn’t quite reach her normal high standards in the Schools’ event, one decent throw of 14.60 metres was still enough to land her the gold medal before she went on to exceed 16 metres again (16.02) in the yesterday's Wessex Young Athletes’ League.

Having followed an indoor British best of 16.59 in February with an outdoor British best of 16.18 in April, Serena – a student at The Gregg School in Southampton – then reined in her training to concentrate on revising for her upcoming GCSEs.

But when, in her dad Andrew’s words, she was “let loose” a couple of weeks ago, she felt her way back into competitive throwing with efforts of 15.55 and 15.82 before really going to town last week.

After beating her own outdoor record by a centimetre to win the Independent Schools’ Association regionals at Eton with 16.19, she returned to the circle just five hours later and unleashed a monster 16.26 effort at the Southampton Open Meet.

It was a timely reminder to the Great Britain selectors that she is angling for a place at the European Under-18 Championships in Hungary next month (July 3-9).

At the Hampshire Schools Championships, Serena landed just one of her three permitted throws inside the sector.

And while her second effort of 14.60 was well over a metre clear of her nearest rival, it reignited the debate about Hampshire’s policy of giving field athletes just attempts when, at English Schools, they get six.

“It’s sad that we only get three throws because you’re barely warming up,” said Serena. “Every other competition you get four or six throws.”

Dad Andrew, who coaches Serena at City of Portsmouth AC, went further, saying it was “embarrassing” that Hampshire Schools do not give their athletes the maximum opportunity to succeed.

“If they get six throws at English Schools, then why not here?” he asked.

“Kids have travelled from all over Hampshire today and all they get is two warm-up throws – when they’d usually expect four or five – and three competition throws and then they go home again.

“It’s sad to penalise the athletes like that. Some of the county’s best young athletes compete in the field, Can it be right that they’re not being helped to throw to the best of their ability?”

Hampshire Schools’ secretary Geoff Cunliffe was not unsympathetic to that argument, but said: “The ruling is that the athletes get a minimum of three throws, but the top eight could get a further three at the discretion of the chief official who will determine that at the beginning of the competition.

“I went to the chief official to ask what the chances were of having three extra throws and he said that’s great, but the field referee overruled him and the field ref’s word is final.

“Today’s shot put competition involved three girls who have represented the country – the two senior girls Gaia Osborne and Ellie Hodgson and Serena – so we’re talking about top athletes."

But, admitting that the time factor comes into it,” Cunliffe added: “We try to get the Hampshire Schools Championships done in six hours whereas the Hampshire AAs are held over two days."