13th July 2018


Jake Norris (coach: Paul Dickenson, club: Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow), Niamh Emerson (David Feeney, Amber Valley & Erewash) and Jona Efoloko (John Smith, Sale Harriers Manchester) all claimed gold medals on day four of the World Junior Championships, with Charlie Dobson (Stephen Garnham, Colchester Harriers) adding a silver to the tally.

British junior record holder Norris improved his own record of 80.45m, set in Bedford, last month, with a massive 80.65m effort on his fourth attempt.

He cleared his previous record for the second time in the competition on his final attempt as he registered 80.55m, having already claimed gold.

After taking the title, he said: “That feels amazing. I literally cannot complain at all right now. I feel amazing having got that PB and record because to be able to do that at a major championships is unbelievable, let alone to win the whole thing.

“It’s been an honour to the lead the team at the World Juniors as well, they’re such a great bunch of guys and I can’t complain about anything. The atmosphere today has been insane and it’s been an unreal experience to be named champion of the world.

“When he (Mykhaylo Kokhan (UKR)) threw 79.68m I got a bit nervous but ultimately I did enough.”

Emerson maintained her overnight lead in the heptathlon to secure gold with a perfect 800m race, setting a new took gold in the women’s heptathlon in a new personal best of 6253, a new world under-20 lead.

She led Sarah Lagger (AUT) by only two points heading into the final following a tough javelin competition after winning the long jump in 6.31m (wind assisted) but executed a perfect race to finish second in her heat and take the title.

“I’m so happy with that!” added Emerson. “I was nervous but I was so confident in what I needed to do and I pretty much did it. Normally I get so nervous and stressed but today I knew what I was doing.

“I never decide what I’m doing in the 800m until it’s actually there because it changes everything. I knew the Polish girl was going to do the first lap in 62 seconds so I had to stay behind her and I had a race plan from that and it happened exactly to plan.

“You’re normally on plan D but I didn’t need it. Words can’t describe how happy I am with a PB and that title.”

The evening drew to a close with Efoloko and Dobson coming home in a 1-2 in the men’s 200m to add two further medals to the British haul. Efoloko won the race in 20.48 (wind: -0.1m/s), setting a new personal best in the process, with Dobson a shade behind in 20.57.

The new World Junior champion assessed: “World Champion sounds amazing. All the hard work paid off and all the training, all the parties missed and going out with my friends it’s all worthwhile for moments like this and that’s why I do this sport.

“It’s a double bonus. The main aim was to win I didn’t really care about the time whether it was 21 seconds or 20.48 I didn’t really care. The PB is the icing on the cake. I dipped for the line and I knew it was mine.

“To be recognised as the best in the world, not in Manchester, the North West, England or Europe but the World is just unbelievable. That’s every boy’s dream.”

Dobson added: “It’s my first World Juniors and to get a silver medal especially against Jona is an amazing feeling. Coming into the worlds I’d have been happy to reach the final but after the first round and the semi, I wouldn’t have been happy to leave without a medal, preferably gold but I’m just as happy with silver.

“My first bend was incredible. I think I got out really well. I came onto the straight ahead but Jona had the experience to pull through in the last 20 metres. It’s an amazing feeling to have the GB flag round my shoulders at such an amazing event, it’s the best feeling in the world.”

There was more British joy as Alastair Chalmers (Dale Garland, Guernsey) qualified for the final of the men’s 400m hurdles second in a new British under 20 record of 50.11s.

Chalmers was pushed all the way to the line by Leonardo Ledgister (JAM) but held on to ensure auto-qualifying, while teammate Alex Knibbs was edged out, he came third in the preceding heat in 50.99s.

Emerson’s teammate Jade O’Dowda (Marcia Marriott, Oxford City) rounded off her heptathlon campaign in seventh, while there was a sixth place finish in the long jump for Lucy Hadaway (Matt Barton, City of York).

Bayley Campbell (Paul Dickenson, WSEH) eclipsed his brother Taylor by finishing eighth in the men’s hammer with a distance of 71.28m. Taylor had managed ninth at World Juniors four years previous.

The Great Britain women’s 4x100m relay squad also progressed into the final after a solid run of 44.84s, with the team of Kristal Awuah (Matthew Thomas, Herne Hill Harriers), Mair Edwards (John Davis, Basingstoke & Mid Hants), Vera Chinedu (Ryan Freckleton, Cambridge Harriers) and Ebony Carr (Mike Leonard, Marshall Milton Keynes) taking second place in their heat.

Georgina Adam (Denise Timmis, Marshall Milton Keynes) and Alisha Rees (Leon Baptiste, Edinburgh AC), were unable to qualify for the final of the women’s 200m, both clocked 24.37 (0.2m/s) and 23.67 (-0.5m/s) to finish sixth and third respectively in the semi-finals after safely negotiating their heats.

In the morning session, Erin Wallace (Dudley Walker, Giffnock North) ran a smooth race to comfortably qualify for the final of the women’s 1500m third in 4:21.60 and will be joined by Francesca Brint (Paul Roden, Sale Harriers Manchester), who set a new personal best of 4:18.58 to come home seventh in the second heat as a fastest loser.

Abby Ward (Ian Hill, Wakefield) saved her best jump until last to qualify for Sunday’s final Ward was facing elimination by the virtue of countback but pulled out a perfect jump to equal her season’s best of 1.84m, while Markhim Lonsdale (Keith Lonsdale, Crook) clocked a season’s best 1:48.60 to make the semi-final of the men’s 800m, joining Alex Botterill (Andrew Henderson, City of York), who qualified second in heat two in 1:50.26.