SHEFFIELD’S English Institute of Sport played host to the cream of the nation’s young athletics talent for the England Athletics Under 15, 17 and 20 Indoor National Championship over two days.
Unlike previous years, only four Stratford Athletic Club juniors made the trip north – with two making their debuts in this level of competition – and it was down to Lewis Byng, the hot favourite in the U20 shot, to get the crowd roaring with a series of big throws.
Byng had started his season by breaking the British U20 indoor shot put record with a throw of 19.18m in Loughborough earlier this month and was after the championship-best performance (CBP) record, which he duly achieved.
After peppering the 18m mark throughout the competition, he produced his biggest throw to add 12cm in the junior men’s shot CBP with 18.69m – winning the gold medal by more than a metre.
Cole Williams has stepped up to the U20 60m hurdles this year and in an event stacked with top class hurdlers he finished in a comfortable second place in his heat in a time of 8.20s.
In the final the eventual gold medallist Joseph Harding of Basildon AC stunned the other seven athletes with an incredible start that almost left the others in their blocks and they were left playing catch-up throughout the race.
Williams stayed with the pack until the last few strides, finishing seventh in the same time as his heat of 8.20secs.
Williams said: “Considering the quality of the athletes competing, I’m pleased to get to the final but disappointed with my start in the final and the time, but it’s good I’m still in my first year as an under 20 and now I’m looking forward to the outdoor season.”
Multi-eventer George Fox-Rowe made his debut at this level in the U17 60m hurdles and finished fifth in his heat in a new personal best of 8.93secs.
His sister Poppy was also making her debut in the U15 800m and in her first race for six months she finished fifth in her heat in a time of 2.29.30.
In Glasgow, Ollie Cresswell made his debut in a senior championships in the 60m hurdles and was disappointed that, after a good start, he hit every hurdle as the race unfolded, could not recover and finished seventh in a time of 8.84secs.
In Madrid, Andrew Pozzi completed his indoor season unbeaten by winning his 60m hurdles heat comfortably in 7.55secs and then rounding off his campaign with a season’s-best of 7.48secs.
Afterwards, Pozzi the perfectionist declared himself satisfied with “a pretty solid season and very pleased with the good consistent times but still feel I could have raced better in a couple of races”.