Emily Moss speaks with UK youth hammer record-holder Jake Norris
When Jake Norris’s headmaster heard that his pupil had set a UK under-18 hammer record, he announced that the Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow athlete could throw a 5kg missile further than he (the headmaster) could run.
To what extent his Desborough College headmaster was speaking tongue-in-cheek is open to debate, but his claim only serves to emphasise the now 17-year-old’s talent.
After his national record of 78.54m with the 5kg hammer at the Loughborough International in May, Jake further improved that mark to 79.20m to claim silver at the European Youth Championships in Tbilisi.
“This year my biggest target is to get a medal at the European Youth Championships,” he had said before the event. “I would also like to throw over 70m with the 6kg hammer and perhaps get over the 80m mark with the 5kg hammer as an under-18.”
Having made the final at the World Youth Championships in Colombia last year, Jake thoroughly enjoyed the event and felt the experience stood him in good stead ahead of this year.
He explained: “I loved competing at the World Youths, even though it was a bit daunting as it was my first international meeting, almost half way across the world and I was the youngest member of the GB team. It was a great experience, though, and I believe it has set me up really well for future international meetings.”
Jake, who has thrown 71.07m with the 6kg implement, is in good hands, as he is coached by double Olympian Paul Dickenson at Thames Valley Athletics Centre in Eton.
The teenager is full of praise for his coach and said: “I think I’m very lucky to have met Paul right at the beginning of my hammer career.
“He is probably not the most traditional coach in his approach to training, but it works well for the both of us. He advises me on all aspects of my training and always listens to what I have to say. Without him I wouldn’t be where I am now. I totally respect him and I am grateful for everything he does for and with me.”
Having started out playing rugby before swapping to football, Jake began athletics at the age of 12 when he did a week of Startrack. He did a range of events before finding it was throwing the hammer at which he excelled most.
Speaking of his training programme, he revealed with a smile: “Throwing is my most favourite session and sprints my least favourite, which probably is no surprise, otherwise I would be a track athlete!”
Despite his many accolades and his recent run of good form, there is one achievement that stands out most for Jake. “As an under-15, I’d like to think the reasons for my ups and downs was due to my growth spurts, which caused me a lot of problems with balance in the circle and keeping it in the sector,” he said.
“Ending up second in the all-time rankings made up for it a lot at the end of the season though. I am really quite proud of the fact that after the end of the season I have been unbeaten in my age group in the UK and I have really polished up my technique.”
You can find further performance stats on Jake on Power of 10 here.
» Support young athletes via the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, see rpmf.org.uk