STRATFORD Athletic Club’s Lewis Byng and Jack Sumners finished among the top 12 in their respective events at the European U20 Championships in Borås, Sweden.
The biennial championships are for the very best European athletes who are 19 years of age or under.
Byng, the UK U20 and U23 champion, was ranked 11th among the entries for the shot put but advanced to the final after throwing 18.61m in the qualifying round.
In doing so, he became Britain’s first finalist in the men’s shot put at the European U20 Championships since 1989.
With a consistent series of throws in the final, Byng finished in eighth place with a best of 18.70m. Byng was the youngest of the dozen in the final and he will have another full season as an U20 athlete in 2020.
After a nervous start in his 110m hurdles heat, Sumners powered through the field to finish second in a wind-assisted 13.66 to qualify for the semi-final, which was stacked with some of Europe’s top young sprint hurdlers.
With his nerves and apprehension under control for the semi-final, Sumners ran 13.87 – his second-fastest legal time ever – but narrowly missed out on making the final by just 0.08 as he placed 11th overall from the two semi-finals. The final was eventually won by Britain’s Josh Zeller.
“I’m disappointed because I thought I could qualify for the final,” said Sumners. “But overall I’m happy with the way it went in my first major competition for Great Britain.”
As they did in 2013 and 2015, Great Britain & Northern Ireland topped the medals table.
“Sometimes it’s easy to forget how amazing it is to be selected to represent GB & NI at any event,” said British team manager Scott Grace.
“The championships provided a massive highlight in the athletes’ careers so far. For some, things didn’t turn out as they hoped they would, but everyone should remember how many people were born in the same years as the 69-strong team and that the athletes were the very best and good enough to be one of the few selected to represent their country.”
STRATFORD AC star Andrew Pozzi endured disappointment as he hit hurdles on his way to finishing sixth in the Muller Anniversary Games IAAF Diamond League meeting at London’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
Pozzi, the 2018 World Indoor 60m champion, clocked 13.52secs in the 110m hurdles as late mistakes cost him a chance of victory.
The 27-year-old was threatening in a star-studded line-up but he thumped into the barrier in the final stages. China’s Xie Wenjun won (13.28s) ahead of France’s Wilhem Belocian and Olympic and world champion Omar McLeod in third.
However, Pozzi remained upbeat and said: “It was a fantastic event with the best atmosphere of the season so far. The start of my race seemed really promising as I ran with more intensity than previously this season.
“I was really happy with my race until hurdle six and I was moving at much faster speeds. I’m disappointed to have clattered hurdles six and eight which ruined my competitive chances in a stacked field.
“The end result was disappointing but there were aspects I can be really happy with.”