7th September 2009


7 September 2009

At the final of the McCain Young Athletes League in Birmingham on 5-6 September future stars of athletics showcased their talents and potential as they helped to bring the UK season to a close with a lasting excitement for athletics beyond 2012.

McCain’s partnership with UKA and involvement within the sport has seen an insurgency of life and vitality into grassroots sport during the past year. Increased attention has been given to age group competitions such as the Young Athletes League Final and also high quality domestics such as the McCain UK Challenge and McCain UK Cross Challenge Series.

Desiree Henry (Enfield and Haringey) completed an impressive double victory in the 100m and 200m.Henry stormed to a personal best time of 24.18 in theU15 Girls 200m smashing previous league record holder Ashlee Nelson’s time of 24.22. Her effort placed her sixth on the all time rankings for her age group. At just 14, Henry was a true competitor, doubling up in the 100m sprint with a winning time of 12.04, also a new league record.

She said: “I was really really proud of my 200m because I have worked so hard and finally achieved it. All the hard work has just paid off. I was very happy with the 100m too, I went into the 100m with a clear mind, 12.04 is not bad but I want to keep smiling and working hard. One day I hope to represent GB at the Olympics and win a medal. The YAL Finals are so good because people hear about you and that gives me confidence to go out and run as fast as I can.”

Emily Dudgeon (Edinburgh), who has set records at YAL for two consecutive years, won the final of the girls U17 800m race in a meeting record time of 02:10.87. She said: “I won last year and got a Scottish League Record. I also ran another record today at the final I just missed the league record but won best performance so was pleased with that.

”McCain Ambassador Steph Twell, who developed at age group events such as these, said: “Coming back here really opens your mind to see how in a short period things can change. The McCain YAL has provided me with a platform, competing against other clubs makes you really step up your game. It gives you a stepping stone..

Being an ambassador is great because I can give back to the sport. I want to tell everyone how good athletics is. I have made so many friends, built character through this sport and I just want to encourage everyone to take up Athletics. “

Blackheath & Bromley took the top spot in the battle of the cluns with 780.5 points ahead of Enfield and Haringey Ac in second and Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow in third.

Further new meeting records were set by Napier Brown in the U13 high jump, Katie Byres in the U17 pole vault, Sophie Cooke for Birchfield in the U15 pole vault and Kate Morley U15 Javelin.

World Championships athlete Perri Shakes Drayton, who has been championing grassroots sport on behalf of McCain, said: “Hopefully I am a role model, if a few youngsters can go on to achieve then that’s great. Maybe they can give out medals like I am today. I loved running the 200m here as young athlete. I always did well but I remember throwing the javelin one year and it hit my head! I was rubbish at field events. My advice to youngsters would be to encourage the ones that don’t win medals because I never won medals as a young athlete. It made me train harder so that I could win medals.”