15th July 2012


13 July 2012

The 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships came to an end in Barcelona with one last evening session that brought some very satisfactory results to the Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland team.

Jessica Judd (coach: Jeremy Freeman) and Jennifer Walsh (Deborah Rowlands) put in two excellent performances in an incredibly competitive final of the 1500m, won by pre-event favourite Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon in a new Championship Record time, 4:04.96.

Judd crossed the line fifth with a time of 4:09.93, a massive improvement of almost five seconds over her previous PB, to crown a great week that saw her finish second in the 800m and achieve this performance in her fifth race in six days.

“Running a sub-10 time was my aim. The pace was very quick at the start, so I knew it would be hard. It picked up soon after but I was able to hang on. With 200m to go I thought I was going to be able to get a medal but I couldn’t kick on again – no wonder, as I had no idea we were already going that fast!” said the Chelmsford athlete after her race.

“I am so happy – this week has been amazing and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I take away lots in terms of experience: for the first time I wasn’t ridiculously nervous before a race. It sure did improve my performance, last year at the World Youth Championships I was all hooked up in nerves and it showed in how I ran. I fulfilled one of my dreams, which was to medal in the 800m, and I got a sub-10 run in the 1500m after five grueling rounds of racing.”

Jenny Walsh ran a gutsy race, hanging on for a long time to the leading pack and crossing the line in the top 8, with a new Personal Best of 4:12.96 that left her elated.

“I am over the moon with this result. I had nothing to lose, I tried to go with the pace and see if I could hold on to them. I knew that if I stuck with the leaders I would have got a PB and that was always going to be my aim” the Spenborough athlete declared after the event.

“This whole experience has been amazing; in my first international in Estonia I fell in the final – I have come a long way since then. I have shown that I am a stronger athlete and I have learnt so much here”.

Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon) was part of a memorable 3000m Steeplechase final, won by Kenya’s Conselus Kipruto in a brilliant 8:06.10, a new Championship Record. The young British athlete finished in ninth position and was the first European across the line in an event dominated by the strong African contingent.

“It was a hard, fast race. The start was too fast, but that’s racing and you have to adapt. I am happy with how I ran, I am the best in Europe so I have to take this time and improve it to keep competing against these talented athletes next year.”

“I have earned the right to compete against the best in the World, and that’s something in itself” were the parting words of yet another athlete who made a smooth transition from the Youth age group to the Juniors.

The total tally for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team as the Championships draw to a close is 5 medals, courtesy of the golds of Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes) in the long jump and Adam Gemili (Michael Afilaka) in the 100m, silver by Jessica Judd in the 800m and the bronzes of Emelia Gorecka (Mick Woods) in the 3000m and Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) in the long jump.

For two of the athletes of this talented team, the road continues on to London, where they will take the first taste of competing on the biggest stage of all. As Gemili and Johnson-Thompson line up in the 100m and heptathlon at the Olympic Games, the experience they accrued at these Championships, competing in such a majestic venue will surely prove an advantage.

For the other 41 young competitors who took part for Britain in this event, the experience in Barcelona will hopefully provide a stepping stone on their way to Senior success. In the last ten days, we lived the emotions brought to us by these athletes – and we can confidently say that, if the future of athletics really lives in these Championships, there is plenty of promise for British colours of good things to come.