26 June 2012
World rankings leaders Adam Gemili (coach: Michael Afilaka), Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) and James Gladman (James Hillier) will be the leading lights of the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain, from 10-15 July.
Expectations will be high for the 43-strong Aviva GB & NI team to replicate the successful campaign of Moncton 2010, when athletes returned with eight medals, including two gold.
With several medal contenders in the team’s ranks, hopes of a solid team performance are definitely not unrealistic.
Sprint sensation Gemili, who last weekend gained automatic qualification to the London Olympic Games, will be competing in the 100m after posting a headline-grabbing time of 10.08s earlier in the season; so far, no one can get close to the times of the Blackheath & Bromley athlete, a situation also enjoyed by long jumper Sawyers – her 6.64m leap last weekend in Birmingham put her solidly on top of the rankings and a favourite for Barcelona where she will compete alongside Olympic heptathlon qualifier Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes), who doubles up in the long jump and 100m hurdles.
In a talented team overall, James Gladman (James Hillier), who shot to the top of the 110m hurdles global lists with his 13.30s performance in Mannheim last Saturday, will be a strong candidate for a medal in a discipline that has historically borne great results, most recently bronze for Jack Meredith in 2010. Gladman’s results puts him just 0.01s shy of Andrew Pozzi’s UK junior record.
Jessica Judd (Jeremy Freeman), fresh from a very mature performance at the Olympic trials, will double up in the 800m and 1500m and can make an impact: the Chelmsford athlete is currently ranked second in the world in the 800m, where she will be joined by Emily Dudgeon (Stuart Hogg) in what could be a very strong event for Britain.
Sophie McKinna (Geoff Capes), silver medallist at the World Youth Championships last year, will be a contender for a top five position in the shot put, while field hopes also lie with Michael Painter (John Painter) and Nick Miller (John Baumann), who should be well capable of making the final in the men’s hammer.
Back on the track, the strength and depth of the British junior sprinters left selectors spoilt for choice. Besides Gemili, who is joined by Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) in the 100m, the team flying out to Barcelona will include Trials winner Joshua Street (Matthew Thomas) and reigning European Under 20 Champion David Bolarinwa (John Powell) in the 200m.
Among the women, Sophie Papps (Neil Dodson) and Rachel Johncock (Philip Oliver) will compete over 100m, while Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) and World Youth Champion Desiree Henry (Mike McFarlane) will line up in the 200m.
The depth of the sprinting squads is an especially interesting factor for the eagerly awaited 4x100m relays, in particular for the women’s team who produced a 44.48 in Bedford earlier this month and who will target the UK under-20 record which has been standing for 22 years – longer than the team members have been alive.
“The World Junior Championships are a massive stepping stone in a junior athlete’s career,” said Team Leader Alan Richardson; “and the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona will be a fantastic environment to learn in.”
“I am really excited about this team, there is a lot of quality and we are not short of medal chances. In some cases, such as the sprints, selection was difficult with quite a number of athletes qualifying for several events, but it just shows the depth of the team – the sport at junior level is definitely moving forwards.”
The full Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland team is as follows:
100m: Adam Gemili (Michael Afilaka) - Blackheath & Bromley, Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) - Enfield & Haringey; 200m: David Bolarinwa (John Powell) - Newham & Essex Beagles, Joshua Street (Matthew Thomas) - South London; 800m: Sean Molloy (Mark Hookway) - Tonbridge, Ben Waterman (Steve Mann) - Ealing, Southall & Middx; 1500m: Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg) - Phoenix AC; 110mH: James Gladman (James Hillier) - Warrington; 3000SC: Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon) - Bracknell AC; 4x100m relay: Edmond Amaning (John Powell) - Thames Valley, Gemili, Tom Holligan (Keith Ridley) - Edinburgh AC, Jordan Kirby-Polidore (Craig Burrow) - WGEL, Emmanuel Stephens (Julian Golding) - Newham & Essex Beagles, Ujah; Long Jump: Elliot Safo (John Shepherd) - Croydon; Discus Throw: Nick Percy (John Hillier) - Shaftesbury Barnet; Javelin Throw: Matti Mortimore (Esa Utriainen) - Ipswich; Hammer Throw: Nick Miller (John Baumann) - Border, Michael Painter (John Painter) - City of Norwich.
100m: Rachel Johncock (Philip Oliver) - Colwyn Bay AC, Sophie Papps (Neil Dodson) - Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow; 200m: Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) - Blackheath & Bromley, Desiree Henry (Mike McFarlane) - Enfield & Haringey; 800m: Emily Dudgeon (Stuart Hogg) - Edinburgh AC, Jessica Judd (Jeremy Freeman) - Chelmsford; 1500m: Judd, Jennifer Walsh (Deborah Rowlands) - Spenborough; 3000m: Emelia Gorecka (Mick Woods) - Aldershot, Farnham & District, Laura Muir (Andy Young) - Dundee Hawkhill; 5000m: Gorecka; 100mH: Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes) - Liverpool H; 3000mSC: Pippa Woolven (Janet Nash) - Wycombe; 4x100m relay: Johncock, Papps, Annie Tagoe (Connie Henry) - Thames Valley, Hannah Thomas (Dave Lease) - Wrexham AC, Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan) - Enfield & Haringey, Steffi Wilson (Graeme Gourlay) - Poole AC; Pole Vault: Katie Byres (Julien Raffalli-Ebezant) - Sale Harriers Manchester; Long Jump: Johnson-Thompson, Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) - City of Stoke; Shot Put: Sophie McKinna (Geoff Capes) - Great Yarmouth; Discus Throw: Shadine Duquemin (John Hillier) - Shaftesbury Barnet; Hammer Throw: Abbi Carter (Dave Smith) - Kingston upon Hull; Heptathlon: Emma Buckett (Bill Jewers) - Basingstoke & Mid Hants, Katy Marchant (Antonio Minichiello) - Leeds City.