Athletes set for U17 and U15 Combined Events Championships
The England Athletics U17 and U15 Combined Events Championships 2018 takes place this weekend (4 / 5 August) at the Manchester Regional Arena. Healthy entry figures reflect the strength of multi event athletics in the country this year; the Commonwealth gold and bronze medals won this year by England’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Niamh Emerson will have served as a lift for aspiring combined eventers with the U15 girls competition, for which there are 48 competitors entered, the most of any category.
Here are some of the athletes to look out for at the weekend's competition.
U17 Men's Decathlon
Scott Brindley (North Ayrshire Athletic Club, Mark Stringer) has the best 2018 score of the entrants with 6492 points and has improved his personal best in every individual event this year. With none of the nine athletes who finished ahead of him last year returning, Brindley will have hopes of adding the outdoor crown to the indoor title he claimed in March. Among those hoping to stop him will be Pedro Gleadall (Blackheath and Bromley Harriers AC, Neil Gleadall), who won indoor bronze earlier this year. He finished one place behind Brindley in last year’s decathlon and has enjoyed gains across all events, suggesting another great battle could be in store.
Callum Newby (Edinburgh Athletic Club, Derek Johnston) and Walton AC pair Philip Kastner and Philip Kastner (Adrian Hemery/Andrew Kennard), were all top ten finishers indoors in March, so could be well poised for a challenge. Among those stepping up is silver medallist from last year’s U15 competition, Murray Fotheringham (Giffnock North AAC, D Walker/S Dear/B Donaldson/D Watson/D Mcleod/A Wrisberg), who will have eyes on the 6,000 points barrier after coming within a couple of hundred points of it earlier this year.
U17 Women's Heptathlon
The heptathlon, an event represented with distinction by British athletes for so long, should once again provide terrific entertainment. Hannah Barnden (Derby Athletic Club, Steve Palmer), who was fifth in 2017, has scored 4823 points this year to add 300 points to her personal best lead the 26 entrants. Jessica Hopkins (Chelmsford, Steve Mitchell) clinched the indoor and outdoor titles in 2017 and returns having produced personal bests this year in hurdles, long jump, javelin and shot put. Her training partner Mia Chantree, who last year won bronze and was fifth at indoors this year, will be among her competitors.
Joining them will be all three medallists from last year’s U15 competition: Joe Frost-coached Stockport pair Abigail Pawlett and Emily Misantoni, and Daisy Worthington (Bury Athletic Club, Matt Cullen). Pawlett’s 4773 score last month ranks her second of the entrants, while Misantoni’s 7th place finish indoors proves she has progressed well.
The boys' Octathlon comprises the 100m, javelin, pole vault, 400m, high jump, discus, 80m hurdles and 1000m. Sam Coupland (Southport Waterloo AC, Ron Scot), Luca Michalowski (Charnwood AC Colin, Barnes/Dave Harmer) and Alistair Mackay (Ross County AC, Alistaer MacKay) were 6th, 7th and 8th respectively at the indoor competition back in March, and will resume battle for supremacy in Manchester.
The girls' Hexathlon consists of 75m hurdles, long jump, javelin, shot put, high jump and 800m. With such a large field of entrants, the winner could come from anywhere. The three medallists from this year’s indoors – Ella Rush (Amber Valley & Erewash Athletic Club, Martin Bishell), Rhiana Burrell (Birchfield Harriers, Pam Rayment), Katie Burr (Victoria Park City of Glasgow, Iain Burr) – will likely be among the contenders come Sunday afternoon.
The England Athletics U17 and U15 Combined Events Championships 2018 take place at the Manchester Regional Arena on Sautday 4 and Sunday 5 August.