THIRTEEN young athletes from Milton Keynes are preparing for the biggest competition of their lives this weekend when they compete at the English Schools Athletics Championships.
The city teenagers form part of a 37-strong Buckinghamshire team that will travel to Gateshead to take on the best athletes from all over the country in the premier event for England’s brightest young stars, and the breeding ground for some of Great Britain’s Olympians.
Among them will be javelin thrower Jonathan Pownall – ranked as number two in the UK for U15 boys. He claimed silver at the English Schools last year and is well capable of going one better on the big stage.
Another thrower, Lewis Barnes, will be eyeing a medal in the Intermediate Boys discus. Currently ranked number six in the UK, he recently won bronze at the Sainsbury’s School Games held at the Olympic Stadium in London, and won the shot put gold at the English Schools as an U15 two years ago.
Senior girl Kayleigh Presswell will be hoping to improve on her bronze medal success in the hammer in 2011, while Chuko Cribb is a top 10 contender in the triple-jump, and Daniel Oderinde – who won gold at last year’s South of England Championships over 200m – is hoping to reach the 100m final this season.
Also taking part will be Laeken Impey (hammer), Tyrell Dankwa (long-jump), Ebony Carr (100m), Jasmine Finlay (1,500m), Elle Roche (1,500m), Jade Leggett (1,500m steeplechase), Laura Zialor (high-jump) and Naomi Greener (long-jump).
>> The Marshall Milton Keynes AC ladies will face a tough third and final match at the end of the month as they hope to survive in Division Two of the UK Women’s League this season.
After a good 4th place at Portsmouth in the first round, they slipped to 8th at Stevenage last time out, which leaves them down in 6th in the table ahead of the last round.
At Bedford they will need to at least beat the host club to ensure their place in Division Two for 2013. That will take a much improved display on their efforts last time out.
In Stevenage, excellent points were scored in the throws as Emma Beales (38.94m) and Andrea Jenkins (37.68m) had wins in the discus A and B string events, and in the hammer there was another win for Andrea (50.13m) and Sadie Watts (44.97m).
On the track Kadi-Ann Thomas won the 200m with 24.7s, but was narrowly beaten into 2nd place in the 100m after clocking 12s.
Lara Bromilow and Wendy Webber both worked hard in the middle distance races, with the former coming 3rd in the 3000m (10m 13.3s) and Wendy 2nd in the B string (11m 40.0s). The duo then placed 5th and 4th in their respective 1,500m races.
Jade Leggett contested a range of events, the 100m, 100m hurdles, 800m and ran in both relays. Sophie Wilkins leapt out to 5.63m for 3rd place in the long-jump and also took 4th spot in the triple-jump with 10.45m.