England Athletics U15/U17 Open Championships Incorporating Age Group Para Championships

The final England Athletics track and field championships of the summer sees the top young athletes in the country heading to the venue of last year’s Commonwealth Games.

Several who won medals and performed well in an England vest at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad & Tobago will be in action, with several championship and UK age-group bests under threat from an excellent crop of athletes. 

Under-17 women

Javelin throwers Ayesha Jones (coach: Janina Pownall, club: Marshall Milton Keynes) and Harriet Wheeler (David McKay, West Cheshire) are just back from winning gold and silver at the Commonwealths. Lying third and fourth respectively on the UK all-time list for under-17s with the 52.49m and 51.50m they set in Trinidad & Tobago, they look set for another close tussle. Jones, who won the England under-20 title earlier this summer, is defending her title, while Wheeler took the under-15 equivalent 12 months ago.

T38 athlete Madeline Down (Dominic McNeillis, Halesowen) will compete 100m and long jump, the two events in which she won Commonwealth gold.

Mabel Akande (Denise Timmis, Lincoln Wellington), who was sixth at the Commonwealths,  is comfortably quickest in the field on season’s bests in the 100m with 11.61. Wales’ Nell Desir is another contender, hoping to step up from under-15 gold last summer.

On the 800m start lists, Shakira King (John Skevington, Wreake & Soar Valley) and Anna Gisbourne (Trevor Painter, Bury) are both in the UK all-time top 10 and are a class apart from the rest on times.

Meanwhile, competing in the wheelchair equivalent is Chloe Lewis (Richard Chiassaro, Harlow AC), who topped her age group in the TCS Mini London Marathon.

Zoe Gilbody (John Skevington, Wreake & Soar Valley), who was 33rd at the World Cross this year, is quickest of the 3000m entries at 9:36.43. She has Isla McGowan (Ros Kelling, Banbury), who has run 9:39.19, as her closest opposition on paper.

Set for the triple jump is Qi-Chi Ukpai (John Herbert, Blackheath & Bromley), who is sixth best ever domestically for her age group with her 12.35m.

In the 300m, Niamh Le’Gall (Andrew Cross, Wirral) seeks to add to her English Schools’ title. She set her UK lead of 38.61 in the heats so could improve her PB further. She is also entered for the 200m, where Callia Downey (Tamunonengiye-Ofori Ossai, BFT Track Academy) is quickest, hoping to step up from her fourth last year.

Under-17 men

Despite the absence of UK under-17 record holder and Commonwealth under-18 champion Teddy Wilson, Ebuka Nwokeji (Ty Holden, Shaftesbury Barnet) is a more than adequate headliner in the 100m. Nwokeji was runner-up behind Wilson in the Commonwealths and is fourth fastest ever on the domestic age-group rankings with 10.43. The England under-20 100m silver medallist is also fastest of the 200m entries with 21.55.

Commonwealth Youth silver medallist Tom Rutter (John Waugh, Hertford & Ware) is comfortably No.1 in the javelin with 67.54m.

The 800m is among the highlights in the middle distances. Mickey Ayling (Andrew Taylor, St Edmunds Pacers), who is fourth quickest all-time on the UK under-17 list with 1:49.89 leads the way, while next quickest is Jack Kinrade (Colin Lancaster, Shrewsbury), who was sixth at the Commonwealth Youth Games

The 400m hurdles sees England under-20 bronze Cheyne West (Julie Benterman, Medway & Maidstone) stepping back down to his own age group.

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Youths representative Stanley Chevous (Lee Bowker, Ipswich) highlights the entries for the 400m flat.

England under-17 indoor heptathlon champion Sam Wright (Simon Hemmings, Chelmsford) heads the high jump roster with 1.98m.

D'mitri Varlack (David Millett, Marshall Milton Keynes) looks to add to his English Schools and England under-20 titles this summer, heading the entries with 7.36m.

In the wheelchair events, Ilias Zhgoundi (Jenny Archer, Weir Archer Academy), who was top under-17 in the London Marathon TCS Mini London Marathon, will compete over 200m and 800m. Toby Metzgen (Weir Archer Academy), who was top under-13 in that Mini Marathon, sticks to 100m.

Under-15 girls

Wales’ Olivia Scrimshaw, who last month set a UK age-group best of 12.12m, is comfortably best on paper in the triple jump. She is also entered for the long jump, where she similarly heads the domestic rankings for the year with 5.74m.

In the 300m, Shiloh Omotosho (Sarah Robinson, Basildon) is fifth quickest on the UK all-time list for under-15s with 39.37 and will be a big favourite to add to her England titles over the same distance last summer and indoors last winter.

Scotland’s Emma Clark, who ranks ninth best UK under-17 in history with her 24.25 from this summer, heads the half-lap event. She is also listed for the 100m, where she is fourth best behind rankings leader Celine Obinna-Alo (Andrew Abbott, Sunderland). 

A close contest is expected in the shot, where Bethany Pendlebury (Michael Martin, Trafford) and Matilda Hewitt (Geoff Tyler, Chelmsford) are separated by just four centimetres on PBs at 12.72m and 12.68m. Pendlebury has also thrown the discus 38.06m to top the domestic rankings and will be favourite for that event. 

Seeking to improve on her silver from last year, Elise Christian (Guildford & Godalming) will start the javelin favourite as fifth on the UK all-time under-15 list with 46.27m.

Under-15 boys

Defending triple jump champion Melchisedec Berkoh-Gyamfi (John Herbert, Basildon) seeks to extend his good form after jumping 13.89m earlier this season — good enough for second on the domestic age-group all-time list and 22cm short of the UK best.

Charlie Platt (John Wakeman, Blackheath & Bromley) is looking to add to his two indoor England pole vault titles. As the fifth best in history in the age group with his 4.25m from last weekend, he is 64cm better than his nearest rival.

Lawson Capes (Lewis Capes, Peterborough & Nene Valley) lines up in the shot put and discus ranking in the top-10 all-time for his age group in both disciplines. His PBs of 17.83m and 51.86m put him well clear of the rest of the field.

In the 100m, David Ezeama-Riok (Tamunonengiye-Ofori Ossai, Harlow), who didn’t compete in the sport until this year, looks to capitalise on recent form which last weekend saw him run 10.89 to go to fourth on the UK all-time list for under-15s. He is also entered for the 200m, where his PB of 23.61 from June looks set for revision. However, last year’s England under-15 champion and this year’s English Schools’ champion Farrell Fabusiwa (Paul Weston, Croydon) lines up as the UK best-holder for the age group with 21.91 and Sean Appiah (Basildon) is not far off that with 22.03.

At 300m, Fabusiwa is ranked second best of the entries at 35.6 behind the 35.44 of English Schools’ champion Tobenna Okoro (Lesley Pearson, Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow). Both are in the all-time top 10 for their age group.

Under-13 Toby Metzgen (Weir Archer Academy) is due to contest the wheelchair 200m and 800m. He was third overall against under-17s and under-15s in the TCS Mini London Marathon and is national under-13 para champion at 100m and 400m. 

Hans Nmaju (Cambridge Harriers) could compete for an England “double double” for 2023, having won both the long jump and sprint hurdles indoors. He  starts as a big favourite in the 80m hurdles, leading the rankings with a time of 11.01, while he is ranked third in the long jump with 6.36m behind guesting Irish athlete Ryan Onoh (6.63m) and William Launder (Bournemouth), who has jumped 6.56m. Onoh is also top-ranked on PBs in the high jump, where Daniel Obike (Cambridge H) is No.1 English athlete with 1.81m.

Photos by Pat Isaacs

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