21st August 2014

Young British Stars Set For Sainsbury's Birmingham Grand Prix

Whilst the established names such as Mo Farah, Christine Ohuruogu, Greg Rutherford and Lynsey Sharp will all be present and hoping to add to their already glowing resumes, a new wave of British talent will be hoping to make their presence felt at the Alexander Stadium on Sunday.

Whether they’re being inspired by London 2012 or not, it’s hard to prove, but you’d be hard pushed to deny it hasn’t had an impact on Desiree Henry, who was one of the seven young sportsmen and women chosen to light the cauldron at the Olympic opening ceremony. She has since continued her development, making her senior GB & NI debut at the European Championships last week, running a personal best to make the final where she eventually finished a credible seventh.

In the same race was Ashleigh Nelson, a good junior who has been plagued with injuries over the last few years came of age, winning a surprise bronze medal, before combining with Henry to bag relay gold. Also in that team were Asha Philip and Jodie Williams, the latter of whom has has perhaps made the biggest strides of all our young sprinters, winning silver over 200m at both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships. Philip was fourth over 100m at the Commonwealth Games, whilst another talented youngster Bianca Williams took bronze at that same championships over 200m. Has British female sprinting ever been as strong?

On the men’s side Chijindu Ujah is the name everyone is talking about after his recent sub 10 second exploits, whilst over the slightly longer one lap distance, Matthew Hudson-Smith has rocketed into the limelight, initially due to his gold medal winning anchor leg as part of the England 4x400m in Glasgow. He proved that was no fluke though, winning individual silver and another relay gold at the European Championships. Not bad for his first season at 400m.

Elsewhere, Charlie Grice will be in 1500m action having made the Commonwealth and European finals at just twenty years of age, whilst Emelia Gorecka achieved the same feat over 5,000m at nineteen years of age. Gorecka will line up over two miles in Birmingham.

Last but not least is Shona Richards, who last month took silver at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon. The talented young hurdler, who surpassed Perri Shakes-Drayton’s British junior record with a 56.16 run in Eugene will take on one of her idols, Eilidh Child, in Birmingham, on what is expected to be a memorable day’s action.

Following on from the Diamond League action is the IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final, which features more young British talent. T38 World 100m champion Sophie Hahn will be in action over 400m in Birmingham, and it’s hard to believe she is still only seventeen years of age.

Another rising star is Sammi Kinghorn, who has just won double gold at the IPC European Championships in Swansea. The young Scot performed admirably in front of a home crowd at Glasgow 2014, and at 18 has a bright future ahead of her.

All aged between 17 and 23, the future is certainly bright…