England Athletics Age Group indoor champs: preview

This weekend sees the England Athletics Under 15, 17 and 20 Indoor Championships take place at the EIS in Sheffield. Not only are athletes hoping to perform at their best with some having the target of being crowned indoor champion, this is also an important event for the under 18s with the Commonwealth Youth Games selections for Bahamas 2017 coming up soon. In addition, winners will be eligible to compete for Under 18 and Under 20 England teams at the Welsh International which takes place in Cardiff on 5th March.

Tickets are still available to buy online, or at the door. If you can't make it there, we'll be following all the action on social media over the weekend ( and Vinco will also be live streaming at

Under 20 men

We are likely to see great field event action with the top three Under 20 men long jumpers Patrick Sylla (Club: Bournemouth AC, Coach: Zac Kerin), Sam Talbot (Club: Exeter Harriers, Coach: Martin Brockman) and Reynold Banigo (Club: Leeds City AC, Coach: John Crotty) all in action and likely to be vying for a high quality long jump title. There could also be a fantastic atmosphere at the high jump with two of our high jumpers returned recently from successes at Hustopece; Tom Gale (Club: Team Bath AC, Coach: Denis Doyle) and Joel Khan (Club: Worcester AC, Coach: Deirdre Elmhirst) looking set to literally raise the bar high in terms of the standards they set.

The 60m and the 60m hurdles races look set to be fascinating to watch - on the flat it is defending champion Oliver Bromby (Club: Southampton AC, Coach: Sara McDonald-Gray) who will be up against fellow Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games team mate Nick Stewart (Club: Enfield & Haringey AC, Coach: Ryan Freckleton) and Cameron Tindle (Club: Edinburgh AC, Coach: Henry Gray / Bruce Scott) who competed for Scotland in Samoa. Dominic Ashwell (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Coach: Marvin Rowe) is also going to want to be in the mix in the final. The hurdles event features the top 4 ranked U20 athletes this year; Tré Thomas (Club: Charnwood AC, Coach: Eliska Binks) who won the U17 title in 2016 is joined by Cameron Fillery (Club: Brighton & Hove AC, Coach: Trevor Simcox), William Aldred (Club: Trafford AC, Coach: Derek Fraser), and George Vaughan (Club: Enfield & Haringey AC, Coach: Gemma Weetman / Brian Hopkins).

The 200m sees Jona Efoloko (Club: Sale Harriers Manchester, Coach: John Smith) who won the U17 in 2016 and is having a great year set to take on Cameron Tindle (Club: Edinburgh AC, Coach: Henry Gray / Bruce Scott) who may make an attempt on a new European indoor record which currently stands at 21.11

Triple jumper Jude Bright-Davies (Club: Thames Valley Harriers, Coach: David Johnson) who recently competed for England in Vienna has had a is string of improved PBs with his best now at 15.56m set earlier this month. Other contenders could be Wesley Matsuka-Williams (Club: City of Norwich AC, Coach: Denis Costello) who is outdoor silver medallist, outdoor bronze medallist Jamil Hassan (Club: Marshall Milton Keynes, Coach: Kyle Bennett), and U17 indoor champion Emmanuel Odubanjo (Club: Sale Harriers Manchester, Coach: Keith Hunter). Joel Leon Benitez (Club: Notts AC, Coach: Alan Richardson), current CBP holder for the U17 pole vault, could be aiming as high as the U20 CBP.

Finley Bigg (Club: Brighton Phoenix, Coach: Jon Bigg) and Markhim Lonsdale (Club: Crook & Dist Sports AC, Coach: Keith Lonsdale) will be joined by defending champion Ben Greenwood (Club: Perth Strathtay Harriers, Coach: Cat Tavendale) in the 800m with a possible new CBP if everything comes together. Bigg's training partner Archie Davis (Club: Brighton Phoenix, Coach: Joel Kidger) is a good prospect for the 1500m Commonwealth Youth Games team in the Bahamas this year and Owen Richardson (Club: Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC, Coach: John Davis) will be looking for a good performance in his 400m.

In the 6k shot put, Daniel Cartwright (Club: Birchfield Harriers) hopes to defend his title - he put 15.84m at the European Trials with a 7.26k implement (6k PB 17.03). Northern champion Leo Rowley (Club: Rotherham Harriers & AC, Coach: Graeme Stark) set his new PB recently at the Northern champs.

Under 20 women

With eight events having either the defending U20 women's champion entered, or the winner of last year's U17, there's sure to be a quality competition throughout the weekend.

In the pole vault, defending champion Jessica Robinson (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow AC, Coach: Ellie Spain) is up against last year's U17 champion Molly Caudery (Club: Cornwall AC, Coach: Stuart Caudery) who has a PB of 4.10m. It's also likely to be close in the long jump with three athletes with 6m+ PBs; 2016's U17 winner and European Youth long jump champion Holly Mills (Club: Andover AC, Coach: James Coney) pitted against outdoor champion Eleanor Broome (Club: Rugby & Northampton AC, Coach: Ian Roberts) and Northern champion Lucy Hadaway (Club: City of York AC, Coach: Matt Barton).

Ada'ora Chigbo (Club: North Somerset AC, Coach: Fuzz Caan) who took silver in our Combined Events champs recently cleared 1.80m for a PB in the Czech Republic which took her to the top of the high jump rankings. This would have won her the title last year but this year could be a great competition with Sommer Lecky (Club: Finn Valley AC, Coach: Niall Wilkinson), last year's U17 winner Rebecca Hawkins (Club: Bexley AC, Coach: John Bancroft) and 4th placed indoor pentathlete Natasha Smith (Club: Stroud & District AC, Coach: Kerry Eddie-Jury).

One of the track amongst the races to look out for is the 800m with Isabelle Boffey (Club: Enfield & Haringey AC, Coach: Douglas Stone) who recently competed in an England vest in Bratislava and won last year in the U17 age group. She's up against Jemma Reekie (Club: Kilbarchan AAC, Coach: Andy Young) who is currently ranked number 1 in the UK and over half the athletes entered have PBs 2.10 or faster. Jemma is also entered to defend her 1500m title and is ranked top in that distance too.

In the sprints, it's a Home Countries battle with representatives from Wales, the Republic of Ireland, and Scotland joining English athletes. The 60m hurdles races are also likely to make for excellent viewing with 4 of the top 5 ranked athletes entered, plus a couple of quality hurdlers whose 2017 form has not yet been tested. These include Alicia Barrett (Club: Chesterfield & District AC, Coach: Toni Minichiello), Sophie Yorke (Club: Cheltenham & County Harriers, Coach: Dave Warner), Amber-Leigh Hall (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow AC, Coach: Tony Jarrett) and last year's U17 winner Holly Mills (Club: Andover AC, Coach: James Coney).

Under 17 men

Three athletes in the 60m hurdles will be battling it out to impress Commonwealth Youth Games selectors - Sam Bennett (Club: Basildon AC, Coach: Steve Surety) Oliver Cresswell (Club: Stratford Upon Avon AC) Jack Sumners (Club: Stratford Upon Avon AC, Coach: Paul Bearman) - and Daniel Knight (Club: Enfield & Haringey AC, Coach: Brian Hopkins) although too young to be eligible has a PB of 8.14 and won the U15 event last year. In the 200m, the final should be a close one with the top 3 nationally ranked athletes Ben Smith (Club: Notts AC, Coach: Gia Skervin), Jody Smith (Club: Charnwood AC, Coach: Eliska Binks) and Adam Clayton (Club: Giffnock North AC) with Ollie Sprio (Club: Banbury Harriers AC, Coach: Chris Bazeley) also potentially in the mix.

In the 2 lap race, there's likely to be a good head-to-head between Ben Higgins (Club: Charnwood AC, Coach: Eliska Binks), Ethan Brown (Club: Dartford Harriers AC, Coach: Trevor Bent) with both hoping to produce sub 50 second races and in the sprint we already have two athletes sub 7 seconds; Raphael Bouju (Club: Bedford & County AC) and Daniel Afolabi (Club: Sale Harriers Manchester) plus Kyle Reynolds-Warmington (Club: Belgrave Harriers, Coach: Phillip Kissi) who won the U15 last year and has a PB of 7.02.

In the field, watch out for William Adeyeye (Club: Thurrock Harriers, Coach: Tony Jarrett/Karl Sumun) whose long jump PB is just short of 7m. A CBP is not out of the question in the pole vault with Frankie Johnson (Club: Bedford & County AC, Coach: Simon Eastwood) entered - his PB - set this month in London and a British Best - is already 10cm beyond that mark. George Hyde (Club: West Cheshire AC) will be defending his shot put title but last year's U15 winner Aran Thomas (Club: Wakefield District H & AC, Coach: Mike Swain) moves up an age group this year and will want to make his mark.

The high jump sees a high quality field with all four top ranked athletes entered, with last year's champion now an U20 - but 2016's U15 champion Dominic Ogbechie (Club: Highgate Harriers, Coach: Marius Guei) now competes in this age group. He'll be up against athletes including Kai Finch (Club: Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton H AC, Coach: Dave McCombe), Luke Okosieme (Club: Cambridge Harriers, Coach: Clive Bennett) and Steven Wheater (Club: Middlesbrough AC (Mandale), Coach: Carol Williams).

Under 17 women

Amber Anning (Club: Brighton & Hove AC, Coach: Steve King) and Natasha Harrison (Club: Stockport Harriers & AC, Coach: Pete Torrance) are eligible for Commonwealth Youth Games selection and go head to head in the 300m. The sprint hurdles heats and finals should be excellent with 44 entrants including all top 5 ranked athletes and Pippa Earley (Club: Kingston AC & Poly Harriers, Coach: John Shepherd / Lloyd Cowan) who ran an all-time UK best last week at the Surrey County champs with 8.41, and U15 champion Marcia Sey (Club: Croydon Harriers, Coach: Alan Richardson). Pippa is also entered in the Long Jump and that should include a head to head with number 1 ranked Ore Adamson (Club: Herne Hill Harriers, Coach: Dr Les Johnson) who has steadily improved her distances 3 times already this year culminating in a PB of 5.80m.

The high jump also sees all our top U17 jumpers competing together including Ashleigh West (Club: Medway & Maidstone AC, Coach: John Bancroft) and Amaya Scott (Club: Southampton AC, Coach: Andy Fisher) who has a matching PB of 1.75 set last year; she has yet to compete in the high jump this year. It should certainly be an exciting competition to watch! There's a quality field entered in the pole vault with top ranked Victoria Barlow (Sale Harriers Manchester), Matt Cullen), and number two and last year's U15 champion Jade Spencer-Smith (Club: Harrow AC, Coach: Ellie Spain) and all the top 10 ranked athletes in the county so far this year. We also have a number of women who have exceeded 14m in the shot put, including defending champion Hannah Molyneaux (Club: Nene Valley, Coach: Malcolm Fenton).

One of the sprints and relays stars of the Nitro Athletics - held recently in Australia - Hannah Williams (Club: Herts Phoenix AC, Coach: Colin Gaynor) has entered the 400m and she has run a second faster than her rivals this year. She's also our outdoor champion.

Under 15 athletes

We have over 200 individuals entered, competing in a total of almost 300 events. There promises to be some great performances from our younger age group athletes over the weekend with this the first national event for many.

Successful athletes who made their mark at and England Athletics indoor championship include Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Dina Asher-Smith, Adam Gemili, Jazmin Sawyers, Isabel Pooley and Morgan Lake. We hope everyone has a great weekend!

England Athletics Chief Executive Chris Jones said, "At these championships we anticipate seeing many good and significant performances. For some that may mean a medal or even a championship record. For others, the significance will be in their debut at a National championships, a personal best, or in the opportunity to learn from the experience of a national level event. I wish every athlete success, but whatever your experience in that sense this weekend, I hope that this event will provide an important opportunity for athletes, coaches and officials to learn and develop."

Added incentives include a £75 voucher for a Championship Best Performance (CBP), and £100 for a British Best, courtesy of Neuff Athletic Equipment. And of course all our winners get to take home their very own Leonard the Lion! Souvenir T shirts will be available from Fine Designs and there will be an Athlete and Coach Lounge plus an England Athletics area manned by our staff if you have any questions.

Links to all info can be found at