England Athletics Open U20/U17/U15 Championships: preview

Championship bests and age-group national records could be challenged as many of the top youngsters in the country gather in Sheffield for what will be the highlight of most of their indoor seasons.

Shot-putters Cleo Agyepong and Lawson Capes are some of the big names to watch out for, while the 60m straight in particular could see some scintillating times in both the flat and hurdles.

The event will also act as a selection trial for the DNA exhibition event in Madrid on 22 February. Winners of the relevant U20 events (60m [male and female], 60m hurdles [male and female], 800m [female], long jump [female], shot [male], high jump [male]) will be selected. For the relay events in Madrid, members of the Futures relay squads and those competing in the individual events will be considered.

U20 women

European U18 shot champion Cleo Agyepong (John Hillier; Blackheath & Bromley) is hoping for another successful year. She is top on the entries with her PB of 15.16m as she looks to add to her recent South of England win and move up from silver here 12 months ago.

In the 60m, Joy Eze (Gateshead) won last year with 7.36 and could face tough opposition from Success Eduan (Anita Richardson; Sale Harriers), who has run 7.41 this season. Another close race could be in store in the 200m. In last year’s championships, Eduan ran a winning 23.44 to go to fourth on the all-time list in her age group. Her main opposition should come from Sophie Walton (Trevor Williams; Horwich), who has run 23.58 this season.

European U18 800m bronze medallist Iris Downes is among the top middle-distance talents in action. She comfortably tops the entrants over four laps with her PB of 2:04.44.

In the 60m hurdles, Meg Corker (David Gough; Liverpool Harriers) returns to the scene of her Northern Championships win last month. Her 8.42 there makes her No.1 on the entries, just ahead of Jessica Duncton (Paul Gripton; Birchfield), who has run 8.44. Last year’s England indoor U17 pentathlon champion has concentrated on hurdles so far this winter.

World U20 pole vault finalist Gemma Tutton (Richard Pilling; Lewes) is favourite in her event, having gone over 4.10m, and is looking for a positive start to her 2023 championship campaign.

Scotland’s Libby White heads the triple jump entries with her 12.63m outdoors, with Amy Warre (Keith Fleming; Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) among the top competition.

U20 men

The junior men’s 60m hurdles will be one of the highlights of the weekend. Noah Hanson (Carl Graham; Newham & Essex Beagles), Daniel Goriola (John Gales; Bexley), Jaiden Dean (Brian Hopkins; City of Norwich) and Ruben Hedman (Richard Holt; Shaftesbury Barnet) are all among the top 40 ever in their age group and are separated by just 0.14 on PBs. They finished in the above order in Lee Valley last weekend, when Hanson, who is in his first year in the age group, won with a PB 7.78. Goriola, the England U18 and U20 champion, has run 7.81. Dean set a UK under-17 best in taking gold in that category in these championships last year.

The flat 60m could be another sizzler. England U20 100m bronze medallist Medwin Odamtten (Gladys Bird; Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) has run 6.67 already this year to rank fifth on the UK all-time junior list. Emmanuel Duruiheoma (Leon Baptiste; Shaftesbury Barnet) ranks a close second with his 6.73 from last year and is due to make his season debut. Not to be discounted is Dejaune Lingard (Ryan Freckleton; Cambridge Harriers), who was sixth in the 100m at the European U18 Championships and ran 6.79 last year.

Scotland’s European U18 finalist Dean Patterson will be favourite in the 200m. He has run 21.23 already this year, was U17 champion here 12 months ago and ranks the best ever in this age group in the UK. GB international and sub-51-second 400m hurdler Onyeka Okoh (Jade Harding; Chelmsford) is quickest in the line-up in the flat two-lap event.

Another European U18 finalist is Isaac Kambamba Delaney (Michael Kiley; Preston), who will head into the shot circle in the hunt for his first England title. He ranks seventh best U20 Brit outdoors with 18.47m.

Luke Ball (Jeremy Dale; Yate) took England indoor and outdoor gold last year in the high jump and returns in search of more silverware.

U17 women

The 60m will be hotly anticipated in this age group. English Schools' AA 100m champion Oluwayemisi Akande (Denise Timms; Lincoln Wellington) began her season in Sheffield in December with 7.45 fourth to climb to fourth on the UK all-time list for her age group. Wales’ Nell Desir, who won the U15 category last year with 7.51, could be a strong contender. She is also entered for the 200m, where she is comfortably quickest with her PB of 24.39, which won her the title 12 months ago. Lily Bradley (Michael Utting; City of Norwich), with 7.60, is faster than Desir in the short sprint this year.

A close contest is also expected in the 60m hurdles between Thea Brown (Joanne Harding; Sale Harriers) and Isabelle Mardle (Keith Yellop; City of Norwich), who are separated by just a hundredth on their PBs this winter with 8.56 and 8.57 respectively.
Brown is also among the favourites in the long jump, where Emily Maude is best on PBs (5.87m).

U17 men

Efosa Imatitikua-Davidson (Tamunonengiye-Ofori Ossai; BFT Track Academy), has improved to 6.80 this season for seventh on the UK all-time list. Challenging him in the 60m will be England outdoor 100m champion Teddy Wilson (Ossai, BFT Track Academy), who has clocked 6.85.

In the 800m, Jack Kinrade (Colin Lancaster; Shrewsbury) was second last year both indoors and outdoors at England championships. Well clear of the rest on PBs, he will be looking to upgrade to gold this weekend.

Over 400m, England outdoor champion Zico Jones is also hoping to improve on his silver from last year and is best on outdoor PBs by more than two seconds with 48.61.
Pole vaulter Rudy May (Trevor Fox; Sheffield & Dearne) seeks to defend his title and leads on PBs with his 4.30m from last month.

Multi-talented Sam Wright (Simon Hemmings; Chelmsford) is best on paper in the high jump and is number 2 in the long jump, where D’mitri Varlack (David Millett; Marshall Milton Keynes) is ahead with his 7.24m PB.

U15 girls

Isabella Davies (Michael Oluban; Birchfield) and Shiloh Omotosho (Sarah Robinson; Basildon) look set for a good battle in the 300m, where the UK age-group record could be under threat. Davies tops the season list with 39.87 - 0.13 seconds outside Emilia Rock’s national mark. Omotsho ran 40.31 last month and the pair rank second and third on the UK all-time list. Davies could be on for a double as she is top of the entries in the 200m also.

Wales’ Olivia Scrimshaw, who won gold in the under-17 triple jump at last summer’s England Championships, is top on the start lists both in that event and in the long jump, where she will want to improve on her fourth from last year.

Multi-eventer Molly Mills (Jessica Taylor-Jemmett; Stockport) is quickest of the 60m hurdles entrants with her 9.05 and she is also entered for the 300m and shot.

U15 boys

The 60m here is hot in this age group too as Farrell Fabusiwa (Croydon) leads the way with his 7.07 - 0.06 outside the UK age group record. The England outdoor 200m champion is also in the one-lap event where he can be expected to improve on his best from last winter of 22.88. Hans Nmaju (Central Park) is No.1 on the roster in both the 60m hurdles (8.60) and long jump (6.06m).

Shot-putter Lawson Capes (Lewis Capes; Peterborough & Nene Valley) began his season with 17.03m to go third on the UK all-time rankings for under-15s and he will be hard to beat.

Charlie Platt (John Wakeman; Blackheath & Bromley) seeks to defend his pole vault title and is a long way clear of the rest after his recent 3.92m PB.

More information