Part of our young athlete series, record-breaking teenage hurdler Alicia Barrett tells AW why last year’s success meant so much to her
Alicia Barrett was undefeated in all of her 22 sprint hurdles races in 2013 and set a British under-17 80m hurdles record with 11.01.
Yet, like all good athletes, the 15- year-old was left wanting more.
The Chesterfield athlete twice clocked sub-11 seconds in a season which saw her win English Schools, SIAB Schools International, England Athletics and Sainsbury’s School Games titles. However, due to illegal wind readings, she had to be content with becoming the fastest ever British under-17 hurdler with 11.01.
Now with the confidence that her legs can run at that speed, Alicia is determined to consistently run under 11 seconds legally in 2014.
Although proud of all of her achievements last year, there is one day that will always stand out in Alicia’s mind as being bittersweet. She explains: “Aside from my mum, my aunt was our biggest supporter. She was suffering from Motor Neurone Disease and in March it was clear she was deteriorating at a pace. After gaining my first international vest, I was determined to bring back gold from the SIAB and she died several hours after presenting the medal to her.”
Despite her talent, Alicia remains grounded with regards future plans. “I would like to go to all the major junior championships, but ultimately I want to represent my country at the highest level as a senior,” she says.
“I am under no illusions that I have many challenges ahead and my ability to ‘pick myself up and dust myself down’ will be key to future success.”
Sporting prowess runs in the family, as Alicia’s twin, Ella, is also a talented athlete, placing second in the 300m at the English Schools last year and boasting PBs of 11.8, 24.7 and 38.85 for the three distances respectively. Meanwhile, cousin Yasmin Spencer won national under-17 titles in the shot put in 2009 and placed 12th in the European Youth Olympic Festival.
Alicia is also quick to praise the work of her coach, Daniel Duke, who she describes as a mentor, a good listener and a surrogate dad and her training partner Emma Schaanning.
In contrast to her sister Ella, Alicia does not enjoy flat races, although she is aware of the benefits and having run 12.3, 25.3 and 41.7, she is very talented in sprint events too. She says: “I have loved hurdling from the first time I started though.”
You can find further performance stats on Alicia on Power of 10 here.
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