GOLDEN girl Emma-Leigh Heighway has added another gold medal to her growing collection, writes Alec Doyle.

And she has also qualified for a Human Biology course at elite sports university Loughborough.

The former Neston High School pupil won the Northern 3,000m Championships held at Longford Park Trafford.

She completed the distance in 9minutes 54seconds, placing her in the top-15 in the UK.

Emma-Leigh's achievement was made sweeter by the fact she had not competed in a 3,000m competition for three years.

It was the pinnacle of her competition success so far this year, although she still has a number of club meetings with Sale Harriers to complete before she can put the season to bed.

While banking medal after medal without a sponsor, Emma-Leigh has also managed to work as a lifeguard at Ellesmere Port's EPIC leisure centre and kept on top of her A-level studies at Neston High School which has enabled her to go to Loughborough.

'The university has a good reputation and I think the people there will help get the best out of me,' said Emma-Leigh, of Great Sutton.

'I believe I can perform at a higher level and that this season I have not always been at my best because of my studies.

'My aim is to change that at Loughborough.'

This season, Emma-Leigh has also won Cheshire AA County silver at 1,500m and she was an English Schools finalist with the third fastest time in the semi-finals of the 1,500m and won schools county gold at 1,500m.

She has also achieved a northern team gold with the Sale Harriers Manchester Under 20 women's team, an individual gold in the county U20 women's championships and an Inter-Counties AA silver.