This weekend sees the England Athletics 2015 indoor Age Group championships take place at the EIS in Sheffield. With a record number of athlete entries and many aiming for qualification marks for the Commonwealth Youth Games and the World Youth Championships later this year, it’s set to be a great couple of days. Nearly every event has the top 3 Power of Ten ranked athletes competing and places for an U20 and an U18 team to compete at the Welsh International next week are also up for grabs.
England Athletics Head of Competition Andy Day commented, “Entries went over the 1000 mark for first time ever, and many athletes are hoping to achieve qualifying standards for this summer’s Commonwealth Youth Games. With the qualification window now open for the CYG we are looking forward to some competitive fields and quality performances.”
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England Athletics CEO Chris Jones said, “These championships will see athletes demonstrating the talent and enthusiasm that bring a great deal of excitement to the sport. The performances needed to make it on to the podium this weekend will be truly impressive.”
A huge field for the U20M 60m is likely to be headed up by top 3 ranked Ojie Edoburun (Coach: Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo, Club: Shaftesbury Barnet), Theo Etienne (Coach: Ryan Freckleton, Club: Hercules Wimbledon), and Oliver Bromby (Coach: Sara MacDonald-Gray, Club: Southampton) who doesn’t turn 17 until next month and has entered the 200m as well. Birchfiled’s Kyle de Escofet (Coach: Andy Paul) gained a new PB in the Senior 60m at the recent Sainsbury’s Indoor British Championships. Following a top podium position recently in his England vest in Vienna, Thomas Somers (Coach: Geoffrey Barraclough, Club: City of York) will also be one to watch in the 200m. Another young Birchfield Harrier Mustafa Mahamuud (Coach: Anthony Pitt) will give top 2 ranked and 2 years older Joseph Reid (Coach: Matt Elias, Club: Manx) and Nick Petrou (Coach: John Baron, Club: Leeds City) a run for their money in the 400m. The U20 Men’s 800m has the highest entry we have ever had so that promises to be a close competitive event. The 60m hurdles sees the top 3 head-to-head in the finals hopefully with PBs under 8 seconds; Euan Dickson-Earle (Coach: David Brown, Club: Biggleswade), Jack Kirby (Coach: Laura Turner-Alleyne, Club: Harrow), and Jack Hatton (Coach: Malcolm Arnold, Club: Reading AC).
On the field, Newham & Essex Beagles’ Kai Jones (Coach: Lorraine Jones) has put the 6k shot over 18m and will be pushed all the way by Ireland’s John Kelly although Adam Graham (Coach: Nick Ridgeon, Club: Gateshead Harriers) has made massive improvements in his PB this month. In the jumps, over half the U20 entrants have cleared 2m in the high jump, the long jump has a numbe of 7m+ athletes with Jacob Fincham-Dukes (Coach: Matt Barton, Club: Leeds City AC) well ahead in the rankings but may be pushed by Combined Eventer Anthony Hogg (Coach: Sam Stanislaus, Club: Gateshead Harriers), and in the pole vault World Youth Champion 2013 Harry Coppell (Coach:, Club: Wigan & Dist H AC) and Adam Hague (Coach:, Club: Dearne ALC are both well clear of 5m; the latter having cleared 5m55 in Vienna recently to break the British Junior Pole Vault record and go to the top of the U20 all time list.
The sprints will see indoor GB champion Shannon Hylton (Coach: John Blackie, Club: Blackheath & Bromley AC) do the double; she’s very close to Dina Asher Smith’s UK and CBP although over the 60m Daryll Neita (Coach: Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo, Club: Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) is quicker. Enfield & Haringey AC’s twin sisters Laviai and Lina Nielsen (Coach: Frank Adams) are ranked 1st and 3rd respectively for the 400m, with the younger 2nd placed Lily Beckford (Coach: Christine Bowmaker, Club: London Heathside Runners) also entered. The 60mH contains quite a few top multi-eventers preparing for our Combined Events championships in 2 weeks. Hannah Nuttall (Coach: Bill Foster, Club: Charnwood AC) is currently number one in the 1500m and moves to her track season after competing in her first England vest XC in Belgium recently at the Lotto Cross Country.
Sophie Merritt (Coach: David Callaway, Club: Southampton AC) is one to watch in the Shot Put as she moves up an age group and $m+ pole vaulter Abigail Roberts (Coach: Trevor Fox, Club: The Dearne ALC) who competed in the England Team at Linz. The triple jump sees a repeat of the SEAA battle between Kerri Davidson (Coach: Tony Ganio, Club:Blackheath & Bromley) and Lia Stephenson (Coach: David Johnson, Club: Thames Valley Harriers). The long jump sees a host of multi-eventers entered, including Morgan Lake (Coach: Eldon Lake, Club: Windsor Slough Eton & H and Ebony Wake (Coach: Julie Hollman, Club: Birchfield Harriers). High Jump specialists Amelia Jennings-McLaughlin (Coach: Susan Moncrieff, Club: Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton H and Poppy Lake (Coach: John Herbert, Club: Chelmsford AC will take on Morgan Lake who cleared 1m94 for a new National Junior Record at the Sainsbury’s Indoor British Championships earlier this month.
60m winners from the Northern, Midlands and SEAA indoor championships – Dominic Ashwell (Coach: Gavin Town, Club: Dacorum & Tring), Jona Efoloko (Coach: John Smith, Club: Sale Harriers Manchester), Bret Okeke (Coach: David Pritchard, Club: City of Stoke) – could end up head to head once all the heats (for over 60 athletes) have been completed; with Jona also taking on the 200m where is number on on Power of Ten. Almost half the 800m athletes have clocked under 2 minutes and a couple of 1500m under 4 minutes, promising a close competition for those events on the track A number of multi-eventers dominate the faster PBs for the sprint hurdles. Birchfield’s Daniel Cartwright (Coach: Jan Aarre) has high hopes for the shot put title after a 16m86 PB last week, at the Midland Champs, although Watford’s Sergios Hanjikonstanti reports a PB of 16m79. All the high jump competitors will be chasing that elusive 2m height clearance.
Another large entry for the sprints and sprint hurdles with a good proportion under 8 and 9 seconds respectively. The longer track events also see a promising number of entrants with over 80 competitors ready to run laps of the indoor track. FIfteen shot putters are entered with Divine Oladipo (Coach: John Hillier, Club: Blackheath & Bromley) the favourite with her English Schools’ 2014 PB of 14m92, a metre clear of her nearest competitor. The high jump sees the more commonly occurring phenomenon of combined events athletes excelling at this event. It’s big fields in the horizontal jumps too with 23 entered in the long and 18 in the triple. The pole vault looks to be the event to watch in this age group, with a number of the competitors clearing new personal bests at Vault London just a few days ago. Rebecca Gray (Coach: Stuart Caudery, Club: Cornwall) has the highest PB of 3.71 set last year, but Jessica Swannack (Coach: Matt Cullen, Club: Preston) cleared 3m70 at the Birmingham Games this month and the next five all cleared 3m51/3.53/3.63 in London – make sure you don’t miss Sunday morning!
U15 Boys and Girls
Many athletes in these age groups, and especially in the U15s, will only just be beginning to show the potential that, with dedication and the support of many people, will carry them through to senior success in years to come. For many younger athletes, this will be their first taste of major competition.
For the under 15 boys, the sprints have proved popular with a total of 63 entries, and the jumps look like they will be closely contested with only 8cm in difference for high jump Personal Bests and less than 1 metre for long jump PBs. For the girls, there are 20 entrants for the shot put with the top three on power of ten all taking part and with PBs over 12m for the 3k shot. There is also a competitive long jump entry and 10 entered for the pole vault with four already having cleared 3m this season.
As well as the most obviously striking performances this weekend many others will post times, heights and distances that in time will prove to be equally significant as they demonstrate the progression of athletes who are moving towards fulfilling the potential they undoubtedly have.
Ticket Prices are: Adult £10/day, £15/weekend; Concession per day £5/day, £8/weekend. Tickets can be pre booked on the EIS website, or on the day at the door.
Neuff Athletics Equipment are sponsoring any British Best Performance (£100) and Championship Best (£75) and will also have a stand in Sheffield. Sweatshop will be selling merchandise and Fine Design creating bespoke event T-shirts.