British age group records could fall at nationals in Bedford

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Ethan Hussey at English Schools by Melissa Gresswell/@Lissgphotography.

It’s the England Athletics Under-15 and Under-17 Championships in Bedford this weekend and you can watch them live from 10am until 6pm BST on Saturday and from the same time until 5.30pm on Sunday.

There will be dedicated track and field streams on this page, while entries for the event can be found here and a timetable here.

Last year, Amy Hunt won under-17 gold by 0.57 seconds and she has since gone on to become the third fastest British woman ever behind Dina Asher-Smith and Kathy Cook. Max Burgin also triumphed in a great season that followed his age 15 world best and European under-18 title, prior to his astonishing 1:45.36 performance this summer, also in Bedford.

Some of the up-and-coming stars to watch out for in 2019 include middle-distance runners Isla Calvert and Ethan Hussey. 16-year-old Calvert, from Livingston in Scotland has run 2:05.09 this year which puts her four seconds clear of anyone in the UK rankings.

Hussey has won English Schools along with the Youth Nations Cup and SIAB Schools International races this year and is second on the British under-17 all-time list with a 1500m best of 3:45.85, having broken four minutes for the first time last year.

Abigail Pawlett is the national under-17 combined events champion indoors and outdoors and is entered for five events including the long jump. Having come just short of six metres last season, she is over it four times in 2019, with a best of 6.06m. It could be a close one with Ellie O’Hara having jumped a personal best of 6.07m this month.

O’Hara is also down for the triple jump, having won gold in both events at the Scottish Under-17, Scottish Under-20 and Scottish Schools Championships this year. At the indoor equivalent of this event, she took triple jump gold and long jump bronze behind Pawlett, who also bagged high jump gold and sprint hurdles silver. It may therefore come down to which events the heptathlete opts to do, given that she is the UK number one in the high jump and 80m hurdles, and the reigning runner-up in the 100m which features 11.93s runner Joy Eze.

Abigail Pawlett on her way to English Schools long jump gold by Melissa Gresswell/@Lissgphotography.

There are two women over 15 metres in the form of Nana Gyedu and Ciara Sheehy in the under-17 women’s shot put. Gyedu of Cambridge Harriers has a personal best of 15.69 and has won all eleven competitions she has taken part in this season including English Schools, the South of England Championships and the SIAB Schools International. Going further back, she has won 27 out of 28 events in the shot put in the last three years. Ireland’s Sheehy threw 16m at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku last month and admitted she was “nearly crying” in elation when seeing the distance. In the long throws, Kirsty Costello could be set for a hammer and javelin double. The Scot is 86cm off the British record in the first of those disciplines.

Interesting sprint battles are promised with another English schools winner, Joe Pascall entered for the 100m alongside Henry Nwoke who he beat in Birmingham. Nwoke also grabbed a sensational sprint double on his indoor nationals debut in February.

There is a good backstory to his beginning in athletics too. Originally from Italy and a teenager who enjoyed playing football and basketball, he won a 100m race in Liverpool and challenged former decathlete Michael Sweeney to a race. Now his coach, Sweeney joked in an interview with Liverpool-based Radio City Talk: “He ran 11 seconds flat and came back thinking he was ‘the big I am’, but I assured him it wasn’t 11 flat as it was a P.E. teacher with a stopwatch!”

Laughter aside, in the sprint hurdles, Joe Harding’s 12.69 puts him close to the 12.60 British record of Tristan Anthony that was set 20 years ago, before he was born. Sam Brereton looks like a strong contender in the high jump. The 2.12m man will be hoping to add to his national under-20 gold and manage an impressive double achieved by the likes of fellow high jumper and European under-18 champion Dominic Ogbechie last season, along with European under-20 medallists Hannah Foster and Keely Hodgkinson.

At under-15 level, Ella Greenway’s 2:09 800m time this year puts her two seconds clear of anyone in the rankings, while Reece Earle and Paul Senior are among the sprinters very close to breaking 11 seconds for the first time.

UK under-15 record holder Gemma Tutton goes in the pole vault having cleared a bar 1cm higher than the previous 3.80m best set in 2002. On a similar note Amy Warre’s 11.70 in the triple jump puts her 10cm off the best ever for her age group, which could be a target this weekend.

Dominic Ogbechie was one of a number of under-17 stars who triumphed at competitions full of older athletes in 2018. Photo: Melissa Gresswell/@Lissgphotography

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First published on: 29 August, 2019 1:59 pm

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