15 June 2012
Adam Gemili and Katarina Johnson-Thompson will be two of the talented athletes headlining the field at the Aviva Under 20 World Championships Trials in Bedford this weekend, as the country’s best vie for a place in the team for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona.
Sprint sensation Gemili (coach: Michael Afilaka) set all eyes on himself with a 10.08 time in Regensburg earlier this month – an Olympic A Standard – and will be facing the rest of Britain’s top three in the 100m as he lines against defending champion David Bolarinwa (John Powell), whose PB is 10.29, and Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo). Gemili and Bolarinwa will also go head-to-head in the 200m, the men’s sprints programme promising fireworks. Meanwhile defending Champion Jodie Williams (Mike McFarlane) will want to make an impact, having raced just once so far this summer over 100m after a strong indoor season.
Heptathlete Johnson-Thompson, currently the UK leader for her age groups in five different events, will compete in three of them – 100m hurdles, long jump and high jump – over the two days. A week after smashing through the Olympic A qualifying Standard with a score of 6248pts, she is in fine form having added a huge 241 points to her UK junior heptathlon record.
In the men’s 110m hurdles, clear favourite James Gladman (James Hillier) who is a third of a second clear of his competitors will be hoping to secure selection, with a world junior podium place a realistic target for the youngster who trains alongside Andy Pozzi and Lawrence Clarke (both Malcolm Arnold).
Jessica Judd (Jeremy Freeman) and Emily Dudgeon (John Lees), having both achieved the standard in the 800m, will compete for the British title and the automatic ticket to Barcelona that comes with it; they will also need to contend with Adelle Tracey (Sue Goode), whose season best is only one second out of the 2:05 barrier and will try to spoil the leading duo’s plans. Judd is also entered in the 1500m, where she may compete against Jennifer Walsh (Deborah Rowlands) and Laura Muir (Andy Young) – the top three athletes in the ranking all having bettered the World Championships standard and having season bests enclosed within a mere three seconds.
Sean Molloy (Mark Hookway), after breaking the U17 800m record at the BMC meeting in Watford last Saturday, will try to bring the challenge on to current U20 ranking leader Ben Waterman (Steve Mann), while the women’s sprints will be tense affairs with Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan), Sophie Papps (Neil Dodson) and World Youth Champion Desiree Henry (Mika McFarlane) – who have all achieved the Barcelona qualifying Standard – fighting it out for the top honours and a place in the team in the 200m.
There should be plenty of quality action on the field as well, starting with the men’s hammer where each of the trio of Michael Painter (John Painter), Nick Miller (John Baumann) and Callum Brown (Lorraine Brown), with SBs ranging from 73.34 (Painter) to 71.16 (Brown), will try to edge the others in a quest for the two spots in the World Championships team.
Oliver Newport (John Shepherd), fresh of a new PB of 7.70m and an English Champion title just two weeks ago, will try to cement his lead in the long jump at the expense of training companion Elliot Safo (John Shepherd), both athletes looking solid bets for the trip to Barcelona, while the women’s events will see favourites Katie Byres (Julien Raffalli-Ebezant) and World Youth silver medallist Sophie McKinna (Geoff Capes) aiming to ensure their qualification to the Worlds.
Tickets for theAviva Under 20 England Championships and World Junior Trialswill be on sale for £5 and can be bought at the gate at the Bedford International Stadium.