7th August 2022


There was plenty to cheer about on the final day of the U20 World Athletics Championships as two bronze medals brought the curtain down on Great Britain and Northern Ireland team’s campaign in Cali for Ethan Hussey in the men’s 800m and the women’s 4x400m relay team.

Ethan Hussey (Andrew Henderson, Leeds City) was first to thrill with his impressive tactical running in the 800m, crossing the line in 1.47.65.

The 19 -year-old showed no sign of fatigue, running in his fifth race of these Championships after placing sixth in the 1500m

Once again, he kept on the shoulder of the leaders from the gun and produced his ever reliable kick on the home straight to take third in the world final.

“It means everything… coming out with a medal was probably the last thing on my mind. I just took it round by round race by race. I just gave it everything I could, and I knew if I got to 200m to go, and I was still there I knew anything was possible from a win to a bronze medal. It has ticked off all the expectations of this world championship for me.”

It was a bitter-sweet race also for GB&NI teammate Sam Reardon (Nigel Stickings, Blackheath & Bromley) who suffered a messier race on the second lap with several bumps and pushes with 200m to go. The team captain finished in a commendable 5th in 1.48.33 but was disappointed after running a personal best of 1.46.80 in the semi.

“After my two previous runs I was down for a medal. I was disappointed I didn’t get it. I gave it my all and that’s all you can ask for at the end of the day. It wasn’t enough. I want to congratulate Ethan on the bronze it was amazing. So well done to him.”

The climax of the competition for GB & NI came in the women’s 4x400m when a second bronze medal was added to the tally.

The team was led off by the U20 World Champion Yemi Mary John (Alan James, Woodford Green Essex Ladies) who gave the quartet the best possible start, handing over the baton in first place.

Jessica Astill (Paul Keeble, Stevenage & Herts) was on second leg and bravely took on the advancing opposition of the USA and Jamaica. She then handed to the U18 European 400m hurdles champion Ophelia Pye (Dave Hemery, Marlborough Athletics) who enjoyed another fantastic performance over the flat.

Etty Sisson (Grant Barker, Charnwood) was again ready, willing and able to take on the role of anchor and gave chase with gusto as the USA and Jamaica claimed the top spots with GB&NI third in a season’s best of 3.31.86.

After Sisson said, “Getting the baton in third I was like, right we need this medal, I’m not going to let anyone overtake me like I did in the heats and crossing the line was just the best feeling with the best team and I am so proud of us all.”

In the past week, the GB&NI team has enjoyed a gold medal, two bronze medals, two national records being broken, and several 4th, 5th and 6th place finishes. Sixteen athletes made it to finals, and there were a total of 24 personal best performances.

Team leader Trevor Painter said, “I am really happy with the team this week. It was a young team going into these World Championships and most have stepped up and managed to achieve more than was expected of them.

“A significant number of them will still be juniors in two years’ time. Many of these athletes have graduated through their national pathways system and we can see the work being done at that level having an effect with these performances.

“It will be exciting to see which athletes from this progress onto the British Athletics Futures Programme.”

*Photo credit: Oscar Munoz Badilla