Bedford International Stadium hosts the England Athletics Under 23 and Under 20 track and field championships this Saturday and Sunday.
The event also doubles as the selection events for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland which takes place at the end of July.*
England Athletics' CEO Chris Jones commented, "It is always a pleasure to see the athletes as they make the transition from the younger age groups to the senior ranks. Some athletes who are here this weekend are already well established - their names, faces, and the sight of them in action are familiar to many of us who have seen them come through the ranks over the years. For others this may be a first national championships and a sign that they too have reached an exciting stage in their athletics career."
We also have our mascot Leonard the Lion in attendance and 72 of his Pride to give to the new 2016 champions. With over 1000 individual entries over the two age groups, it's set to be an exciting weekend of competition.
Click here to view the full British Athletics selection policy for the 2016 World Junior Championships and the 2016 European Youth Championships (*The Trials for Men's and Women's 5000m, Men's 10,000m and Combined Events have been held at other events - see policy for details).
A highlight of the weekend may well be the U20 women’s 100m hurdles; over a quarter of the athletes entered have already earned an England vest. Mollie Courtney (Club: Cheltenham & County Harriers, Coach: David Warner) is the indoor 60m hurdles champion and also won with a PB in the Loughborough International. Megan Marrs (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow AC, Coach: Tom Reynolds) also recorded a Season’s Best followed by another at the All Ireland Schools' Championships two weeks later. Alicia Barrett (Club: Chesterfield & District AC, Coach: Toni Minichello), Northern champion Chelsea Walker (Club: City of York AC, Coach: Rick Betts) and Hope Sarti (Club: Guildford & Godalming AC, Coach: Glyn Peckham) make up the next three of the UK top ranked 5 with Alicia and Hope taking the 1-2 last year in the England Athletics U18 hurdles event, and Amber-Leigh Hall (Club: Reading AC, Coach: Dwayne Stoddart) taking third in that race. Amber is also the Southern indoor sprint hurdles champion.
The 200m sees last year’s silver medallist Charlotte McLennaghan (Club: Notts AC, Coach: David Hourd) and this year’s Southern outdoor and national indoor 200m champion Finette Agyapong (Club: Newham & Essex Beagles AC, Coach: Coral Nourrice) likely to be highly competitive.
In the longer distances we have 1500m defending champion Bobby Clay (Club: Invicta East Kent AC, Coach: Rob Denmark) who clocked a new PB of 4:10.61 at the recent Birmingham IAAF Diamond League Meeting, and in the 800m Charlotte Cayton-Smith (Club: Cornwall AC, Coach: John Scott) - who broke the indoor record in Sheffield earlier this year – pitted against a field which includes Millie Howard (Club: Harrogate Harriers & AC, Coach: Kieron Hall) who took almost a second off her previous PB in Loughborough.
It’s a top class field in the U20 women’s high jump. Having already cleared the World Junior standard of 1m83, Morgan Lake (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & H, Coach: Eldon Lake), Abby Ward (Club: Wakefield District H & AC, Coach: Ian Hill), Niamh Emerson (Club: Amber Valley & Erewash AC, Coach: David Feeney) and Ada'ora Chigbo (Club: North Somerset AC, Coach: Ken Holmes) may well have their sights set on the European Championships standard of 1m91 which take place early next month in Amsterdam. Morgan already has a PB of 1.93, and Northern indoor and outdoor champion Abby just 2cm more, as does multi-eventer Niamh who set a PB of 1.89 winning in Loughborough this year. Ada'ora took high jump silver at the Commonwealth Youth Games behind Niamh and added to the mix is English Schools' High Jump Champion Emily Borthwick (Club: Wigan & District H & AC, Coach: Fuzz Caan) who recently took 2nd behind Abby in the Northern champs. Morgan is also entered in the long jump and will be up against 16-year-old Holly Mills (Club: Andover AC, Coach: James Coney) who has a PB of 6m29 and recently won at the Loughborough International as well as being U17 long jump indoor and outdoor national champion.
In the pole vault, Abigail Roberts (Club: City of Sheffield & Dearne AC, Coach: Trevor Fox) will want to retain her 2015 title but is up against Jessica Robinson (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow AC, Coach: Ellie Spain) the U17 champion and record holder who cleared 4m05 last week at the Welsh Senior Championships.
In the shot put, entrants include indoor U20 champion Sophie Merritt (Club: Southampton AC, Coach: David Callaway) and U20 Southern indoor and outdoor champion Divine Oladipo (Club: Blackheath & Bromley, Coach: John Hillier) who both gained 14m+ PBs at the Loughborough International recently; they will then be joined in the discus by last year’s discus champion Sophie Mace (Club: Walton AC, Coach: Mark Wiseman) - with Divine also the 2016 Southern discus champion.
The U20 men’s 100m and 200m sees a renewal of rivalries from the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa where medallists Rechmial Miller (Club: Hercules Wimbledon AC, Coaches: Paul Miller, Jeffrey Lawal-Balogun, Clarence Callender), Toby Harries (Club: Brighton Phoenix, Coach: Jon Bigg) and Cameron Tindle (Club: Edinburgh AC, Coach: Henry Gray & Bruce Scott) join indoor 60m champion Oliver Bromby (Club: Southampton AC, Coach: Gary & Sara MacDonald Gray); each take on one or both of the sprints.
At a longer distance, the top 3 UK ranked 10k walks athletes are all entered; Callum Wilkinson (Club: Enfield & Haringey AC, Coach: Mick Graham) has a number of recent European successes under his belt, Cameron Corbishley (Club: Medway & Maidstone AC, Coach: Andi Drake) took gold at the RWA Championship in April, and Guy Thomas (Club: Tonbridge AC, Coach: Martin Rush) will be aiming to improve on last year’s bronze.
The shot put sees two 17m plus throwers in contention for gold; Scottish Schools’ Champion George Evans (Club: Inverness Harriers, Coach: Colin McCulloch) takes on Daniel Cartwright (Club: Birchfield Harriers, Coach: Jan Aarre) who beat him at the indoor championships and both have since increased their PBs.
In the jumps, England Athletics indoor and outdoor champion and European Junior Champion Adam Hague (Club: City of Sheffield & Dearne AC, Coach: Trevor Fox) will be defending his pole vault title, and U20 indoor champion Rory Dwyer (Club: Stratford Upon Avon AC, Coach: Paul Bearman) and U17 indoor Jump Champion Joshua Hewett (Club: Liverpool Harriers & AC, Coach: Grant Brown ) are both entered in the U20 men’s high jump - Rory needs just 1cm on his PB to qualify for the World Junior Championships.
There should be an exciting head-to-head on the track in the U23 women’s 400m; Cheriece Hylton (Club: Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC, Coach: John Blackie) and Lina Nielsen (Club: Enfield & Haringey A C, Coach: Frank Adams) were both in the England relay team at the recent Loughborough International and are closely matched, with Lina running a PB there in the individual guest event, and Cheriece the defending champion.
In the field, Sophie McKinna (Club: Great Yarmouth & District AC, Coach: Mike Winch) returns to defend her title for the 6th time at this event. Sophie Papps (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow AC, Coach: Stewart Challis) makes a welcome return from injury to contest the 100m title.
In the U23 men’s 100m there should be a great final on Saturday afternoon with Joseph Dewar (Club: Woodford Green AC with Essex Ladies, Coach: Gladys Bird), Josh Cox (Club: Bedford & County AC, Coach: Alan Watts) and Christopher Stone (Club: Bristol & West AC, Coach: Daniel Cossins) all entered and with comparable times this season; Stone clocking a huge PB in Loughborough recently and Cox a wind-assisted PB in Cardiff last month.
Defending champions in the field include European U23 bronze medallist last year Chris Kandu (Club: Enfield & Haringey AC, Coach: John Herbert) in the high jump who is well clear at the top of the UK U23 rankings with 2m26, and Junior record holder Taylor Campbell (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow AC, Coaches: John Pearson, Paul Dickenson) in the hammer who threw 71m39 at the SEAA championships last weekend.
Head of Competition Andy Day summarised, "We’re looking set for another great competition this weekend in Bedford. We wish all the athletes success and would like to thank all the volunteers – from the athletes coaches through to the officials who are on duty over the weekend – without whom this event would not take place."
Following the Action this weekend
- You can access all the social media links, results, entries and links to online streaming from www.englandathletics.org/liveevents.
- Get involved in the conversation on Twitter by tagging @englandathletic and/ or using the hashtag #EAChamps
- Click here to view all entries
- Vinco will be providing live and on demand video streaming.
- TCLick here for the timetable
- Event sponsors New Balance will be there and are providing an athlete chill-out marquee.
- Fine Designs printers will be present to sell personalised garments.
Athlete's coaches must apply to England Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org) for accreditation giving UKA coaching number and details of the competing athletes he/she coaches. Coaches who have not applied for their pass prior to the Championships will be required to purchase a spectator ticket. VALID coaching licence must be presented at the accreditation desk.
Parents, friends and spectators are welcome and tickets can be bought on the day at the spectator entrance which again is situated to the left of the Main Stand. Ticket Prices are: Adult £5 day/ £8 weekend, Concession £3 day / £5 weekend. Car Parking: £3