15th July 2010

Further ESAA Highlights


15 July 2010

Several of the recently announced GB team bound for the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore enjoyed great success at last weekend’s English Schools Championships.

With the Aviva GB & NI team already in preparation camp for the World Juniors next week and the seniors off to their Aviva Preparation camp this weekend, these youngsters are biding their time until their own championship takes place next month.

Of the 13-strong team heading Singapore in August, eight athletes placed within the top three in their event whilst representing their county schools team in Birmingham, before going to on represent Team GB in the global U18 event next month.

London Schools athlete David Bolarinwa (John Powell) was supreme in the Intermediate Boys 100m event.  Just outside his PB of 10.47 – set when winning the England U20 Championships in June against athletes two years his senior – David ran 10.77 (10.73 in the heats) to take the U17 ESAA title.  David’s 2010 best places him both third in the U17 all-time Rankings and also currently third U18 in the World this year – the highest world-ranked athlete in the team bound for Singapore and so looking very much towards an Olympic medal in August.

It was a strong day for the girls’ throwers and Sophie McKinna (Geoff Capes) produced a magnificent PB of 15.08m equaling the UK U17 all-time record in the Inter Girls Shot Put.  The Norfolk Schools athlete was delighted to build on her gutsy PB performance at the Youth Olympic Trials in Moscow in May where she raised her game to re-take the bronze medal position in the final round.

“I was nervous in Moscow as it was my first major championship but I proved I can compete with the best in Europe.  To break the English Schools record was a bonus but my PB performance takes me to 4th in the 2010 World Youth Rankings and sets me up well to challenge for a medal in Singapore.”

Freya Jones (Bill Bushnell) representing Hampshire in the Inter Girls Javelin threw an impressive 49.23m which represented a new best performance for the event, but slightly short of her PB of 51.28m which tops the UK U17 all-time Rankings. Freya is boosted by the knowledge that going into Singapore, she is currently ranked in the top eight in the World for U18s. After her performance, Freya said:

“Winning always gives me the ‘wow’ factor and a Championship Best Performance perfects a competition but without a PB the Gold medal doesn’t glisten.  However, every national win is a rung up the ladder and I’ve always got my eye on that top rung.”

To round off the trio of female throwers representing Team GB in Singapore, Sussex representative Louisa James (Ron James) broke the previous Inter Girls Hammer best performance with 52.43m but had to settle for silver behind Youth Olympic Trials team-mate Abbi Carter (Dave Smith).  In Birmingham Abbi reversed her defeat to Louisa in the Moscow trials event and took ESAA gold with the overall best performance mark (54.78m).  However in Singapore Louisa will be hoping to improve on her PB of 54.87m which sees her top of the UK all-time U17 lists.

Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg), representing Sussex Schools, was already third on the UK U17 all-time Rankings (PB 3:48.70) and finished strongly in the final of the Inter Boys 1500m, winning in a time of 3:52.25.  Dominating the race by finishing a second and half clear of the silver medal position, Charlie commented:

“It was great to claim my first national title by winning the English Schools in Birmingham. It was one of my key targets for this summer and I am pleased with the way that I raced.”

Referring to the event’s previous record held by Sussex’s Johan Boakes in 1988, Charlie added:

“It was an added bonus to run a Championship best time, beating my former Club mate’s time in the process!”

Charlie will be hoping to improve his PB and current World U18 ranking of 14th at the Youth Olympic Games finals in August.

Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon) finished nearly four seconds clear of his nearest rival in setting a new best performance in the 1500m steeplechase.  His PB time of 4:13.66 edges the athlete, representing Berkshire Schools, nearer to the 36-year-old British record of 4:11.2.  Zak will contest the longer 2000m steeplechase event in Singapore where his PB of 5:57.50 places him currently 5th in the World Rankings (U18), but his performance in the shorter event in Birmingham puts him 5th on the U17 UK all-time list.

Competing in the Senior Girls 400m, Victoria Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) representing Essex Schools finished strongly in the home straight to take the title in 55.08.  Hoping to improve on her PB of 54.17, set in Moscow in May at the European Trials for the Games, Victoria said:

“I am fully focused on preparing well over the coming weeks and aim to achieve my very best for Team GB in Singapore.”

Finally, Georgia Peel (Mick Woods) was the eighth athlete within the British Youth Olympic team to achieve a top three position at the English Schools by winning the Intermediate Girls 800m in fine style.  A strong finish and a performance of 2:07.14 saw the Hampshire Schools athlete finish clear of silver medallist Katie Snowdon, Georgia’s team mate in the Moscow trials event earlier in the year.  Georgia’s PB of 2:06.20 ranks her 9th in the UK U17 all-time list and will hoping to improve further on her current position of 13th in the 2010 World Youth Rankings.

Jo Jennings, Team Leader for the Singapore Games, commented:

“It was encouraging to see many of the athletes selected for Team GB achieving great results in at the English Schools Championships.

“All the athletes are preparing well and focusing on the goal of achieving the required results in Singapore – a podium finish at the English Schools in the run up to the Games is certainly a huge boost.”

For the team of 13 GB U18 athletes, the European trials in Moscow and the Games in Singapore offer a unique opportunity to experience an Olympic Games – Singapore promises to replicate the true Olympic experience in terms of competition, Olympic Village environment and values.

The eight athletes mentioned above are joined by Annie Tagoe (Connie Henry/Clarence Callender) 100m, Themba Luhana (Chloe Cousins) 110mH, Abi Fitzpatrick (Morris Condon) 400mH, Katie Byres (Julien Raffalli) Pole Vault, Andrew Elkins (Dennis Elkins) Hammer, for the trip to Singapore which departs on 9th August – competition dates between 17th  – 23th August and will feature highlights (from athletics and all other sports participating in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games) on the BBC red button.

Charlie Grice echoed the feelings of all of the athletes bound for Singapore by adding:

“I feel I have had a fantastic season so far and gained a lot of experience and confidence from my first GB International in Moscow. I am really looking forward to competing in Singapore, and to represent GB again will be a huge honour.”