One of these days, I will make it to the European U18s. I remember Spencer Nel at adidas telling me that the U20 and U18 meets are two of the gems on the championship schedule. Stuart Weir, our European senior writer wrote this piece!
EUROPEAN U18 CHAMPS
Great Britain & NI topped the medals table at the European U18 Champs in Jerusalem this month with 8 gold, 1 silver & 7 bronze medals. Germany was next best with 4 golds and 14 medals with Italy winning 3 golds and 11 medals in total.
The medallist were:
Gold: Cleo Agyepong (shot put), Mia McIntosh (100m Hurdles), Nia Wedderburn-Goodison (100m), Charlotte Henrich (400m), Faith Akinbileje (200m), Annie Mann (1500m), Ophelia Pye (400m Hurdles) and Girls Medley Relay.
Silver: Jess Bailey (3000m)
Bronze: Edward Bird (3000m), Paige Stevens (shot put), Tendai Nyabadza (1500m), Stephanie Okoro (400m Hurdles), Iris Downes (800m) and Boys Medley Relay.
British Athletics uses the hashtag #Where it starts. It will be interesting to see over the next few years where the journey which started in Jerusalem leads to.
Three of the medal winners are of particular interest:
Faith Akinbileje who won the 200m is coached by John Blackie. Dina Asher-Smith, speaking to British media this week, confirmed that she was excited by the success of one of her training groups and that she had been in touch. She added that she and Faith did not actually train together as they tended to train at different times of the day.
Renee Regis, the bronze medallist in the 100m, is the daughter of John Regis and Jenny Stoute, both Olympic athletes in their day.
Ophelia Pye, winner of the 400h is coached by David Hemery, 1968 Olympic gold medallist in the event.
Speaking after the race, Pye said, “It was a bit scary at first, everyone did seem to set off quite fast – particularly on the back straight, I was worried I was going to get left behind. But I stuck to my race plan and managed to battle it out and in the end and just about got it!”
Laura Kerr, Team Leader, said: “These young athletes have embraced the opportunity to step onto the international stage. With 16 medals and 22 personal bests, many of them have significantly outperformed their rankings. I have been very impressed with their preparations, behaviours and execution and want to thank their parents and congratulate their personal coaches. It is vital these athletes continue to refine their skills, abilities and behaviours in order to fulfil their potential as senior athletes.”
Dan Wagner, British Athletics Performance Pathway Manager and Team Delegation Leader added: “The international age group championships are a key part of the Great Britain & Northern Ireland pathway, supporting & providing the experience to learn the key skills, abilities and behaviours needed to progress onto the senior international stage. This European U18 team have showcased the exciting potential for the future with their performances but also their approach in preparation before and during the championships. Congratulations to athletes and their coaches and thank you to the tireless efforts of the team staff who guided them through the championships.”
Video of Pye