‘Young lions’ Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Adam Gemili sparkled at the gathering of the English junior age groups in Birmingham as they lined up impressive strings of displays across the weekend, with the former laying the foundations of a big breakthrough even into the realms of the Olympics for London this season.
KTJ started off her busy schedule to a vigorous winning 6.30m in the long jump on the first day, just 9cm short of her recent UK indoor U20 record, before coming back on Sunday to rise above a total PB of 1.85m in her first high jump outing this term, a discipline carrying great weight in multi-events.
But there was still a lot more left to come from her as she settled into her blocks at the far end of the infield straight next to breeze to a swift 8.53 secs (SB) over the sticks and qualify easily fastest out of the heats.
A hat-trick of golds was eventually foiled by highly-rated hurdle speciallist Yasmin Miller, just 16, who rose to the challenge to snatch victory in a fabulous PB of 8.45 secs but the Merseysider had yet every reason to leave the arena happy, wrapping up her weekend showing in a second PB of 8.48 secs.
European U20 silver medallist Gemili didn’t turn up any short in quality either as he stormed to a massive PB of 6.68 over the dash and up to seventh in the British all-time junior rankings over the distance, coming away with a comprehensive win in the process.
And he completed an awesome sprint double the following day over the rarer 200m in a brisk indoor best of 21.20 secs to demonstrate plenty of potential and promise in view of the World U20 Championships this summer, although he may have to face off with the challenge of Delano Williams on the longer distance even on the domestic front.
An intriguing character to mark out for the future is Jordan Bransberg, turning just 17 last month, who swept to a sterling 1:50.31 in comfortably claiming the U20 men’s 800m and fall into fourth place in the indoor UK all-time lists, with a good two more seasons available to knock David Sharpe‘s dusted long-standing milestone of 1:48.53 off its pedestral.
Ben Waterman was second-placed in an interesting 1:51.10, an outright PB.
The headliner of the championships was, however, World & European U20 sprint princess Jodie Williams who nevertheless still looked again somewhat shy of her best despite dominating the women’s U20 dash in a standard 7.47 secs, a fortnight before she engages senior action again on the turf of Istanbul.
Apparently, she has been still more on an speed endurance rather than sheer speed pattern trainingwise, her sights fixed on a massive summer ahead, which has taken some of the bite out of her sprinting at the moment.
Stefi Wilson, 17, was second in a PB of 7.61 secs while Dina Asher-Smith shone by means of a smooth sprint double of 7.56 secs (PB) and 24.61 (iPB) in the U17 women’s 60 and 200m respectively.
Another Liverpoolian to strike promising ahead of the summer was 17-year-old Alex Boyce as he powered round the track to a total PB of 47.82 secs in notching the U20 men’s 400m, having pledged a fast time in an easy 48.17 secs from the heats.
He may have not made the final of the World Youths last summer but he is definitely laying a solid springboard to bid for a top eight placing at the immediately next tier on this evidence.
Some U17 names to show potential were high jumper Chris Kandu over a PB of 2.08m, training under John Herbert, and Jermaine Hamilton in a scintillating 21.73 secs (PB) over 200m, having bagged the 60m title in also a PB of 6.94.
In the women’s shot, Sophie McKinna was all dominant at 14.82m and World Youth bronze medallist Lucy Bryan tucked away the U20 women’s pole vault at 3.80m.