We look ahead to the European Athletics Junior Championships where Dina Asher-Smith and Matt McLaughlin are among the Brits in action
British medal hopes for the European Junior Championships in Rieti, Italy, might have been hit this week with news of Jess Judd’s withdrawal from the 800m with a niggle, but GB still has plenty of other medal chances for the event which takes place from July 18-21.
Without Judd, who on Tuesday was named part of the GB squad for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in just under a months’ time, the 800m has been left wide open for 17-year-old Icelandic talent Anita Hinriksdottir who is fresh from winning the World Youth title in Donetsk.
Dina Asher-Smith is set to join Judd on the plane to Moscow thanks to her place in the women’s 4x100m squad and, in the absence of No.1 Irene Ekelund of Sweden, heads the entries in the 200m in Rieti. The 17-year-old will be looking to follow the success of of Jodie Williams who did the sprint double in Tallinn two years ago, with Sophie Papps running the shorter sprint distance.
In the men’s sprints Chijindu Ujah will be looking to challenge for a medal over 100m but it won’t be easy as he faces a field including the likes of Bulgarian champion Denis Dimitrov, while Leon Reid, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Matthew Hudson-Smith are GB’s representatives to take on double the distance.
British indoor 1500m junior record holder Matt McLaughlin is one of three Brits contesting the distance in Italy and his record-breaking personal best of 3.42.87 should stand him in good stead. Entered to take on double the distance as well as the 5000m is Emelia Gorecka who won 5000m silver in Tallinn in 2011 and world junior bronze over 3000m last year.
In the 3000m steeplechase, world youth and world junior finallist Zak Seddon leads the European junior rankings by more than 10 seconds and will go into the competition as clear favourite as he takes on the likes of Italian twins Ala and Osama Zoghlami and Russia’s Viktor Bakharev.
Other gold contenders among the Brits include David King in the 110m hurdles, Chris Kandu in the high jump, Hayley McLean in the 400m hurdles, Lucy Bryan in the pole vault and Sophie McKinna in the shot put. You can find the full GB squad listed here.
» For further information and event timetables see www.rieti2013.org