Three years ago, the now-Olympic, World and European sprinter Daryll Neita impressed in winning a national under-20 indoor title at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
Such is the opportunity when watching the England Athletics Age Group Indoor Championships to get a ‘first glimpse’ of young athletes with great potential at the start of the season.
In the same year, fellow British sprinter Ojie Edoburun took the men’s under-20 60m title. But perhaps most impressive of all, twelve months ago Alicia Barrett broke a national junior record with a time of 8.19s to qualify for the 60m hurdles final in a season that would culminate in an incredible opportunity to represent her home crowd at the IAAF World Championship in London.
The event, comprising of under-15, under-17 and under-20 action this coming Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th February will be broadcast live on runjumpthrow.com and Runnerspace.com in North America with both track and field action being streamed. Videos will also be made available on-demand afterwards.
978 athletes have entered this year according to the England Athletics website. Athletes to look out for in 2018 include 17-year-old Amber Anning, who picked up a stunning 200m bronze medal at the SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships last weekend – beating accomplished runners much older than her in the process. Anning, who runs as an under-20, has been tipped as a future star after holding the world lead for an under-18 athlete last year.
Isabelle Boffey, Emma Alderson, and Katy Ann MacDonald are all entered for what should be an exciting women’s under-20 800m. Boffey (below) has won her national age group indoor title three years in a row. The 2016 European Youth Champion also won the England under-20 outdoor equivalent last year – but MacDonald ran a competition record to stop her doing the double at under-17 level two years ago.
It’s also worth keeping a close eye on the under-20 women’s high jump with Abby Ward of Wakefield (PB 1.89m), and Rebecca Hawkins of Bexley (PB 1.80m) entered. Both weren’t far away from a medal in Birmingham last weekend.
Two other standout individuals in the field are a pair of England’s youngest Commonwealth Games-bound athletes; Molly Caudery and Niamh Emerson. Caudery’s lifetime best of 4.35m is 30cm further than the rest of the field. Meanwhile, Derbyshire heptathlete Emerson will face tough competition from the reigning British indoor and outdoor bronze medallists. They are Lucy Hadaway from York (PB, 6.09m) and Holly Mills from Andover (PB, 6.31m) respectively.
It will be interesting to see the duo reignite their battle competing for England that saw Mills win the Commonwealth Youth title in the Bahamas last year, as Hadaway picked up bronze.
The action begins at 10.15 UK time on both Saturday and Sunday morning. Full event information can be found here.