A look ahead to the European Athletics Youth Championships which takes place for the first time over four days in Tbilisi
A new addition to the calendar for under-18 athletes, the European Athletics Youth Championships takes place for the first time in Tbilisi, Georgia, over the next four days (July 14-17).
Tbilisi hosted last year’s edition of the European Youth Olympic Festival and at a press conference ahead of this week’s event, European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen spoke about area youth championships being the future.
“We are watching history,” he commented. “This is the first time any area has staged a youth championships. I think in the future, the IAAF will move only to area championships.
“Initially, the stadium looks good, the weather looks fantastic and we have the stars of the future.”
Among the athletes in action are Sabrina Sinha (pictured), Niamh Emerson, Sam Talbot and Markhim Lonsdale, who have been named as captains of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team.
Sinha goes into the event ranked No.1 over 1500m ahead of team-mate Erin Wallace and the 17-year-old World Youth Championships finalist said: “This is the first time I’ve been top of my age group because all the rest I’ve been one of the youngest in the team.
“I guess to be ranked first there is a bit of expectation, but the only pressure I put on myself as opposed to what anyone else puts on me.”
Emerson should go into the championships full of confidence after recording a heptathlon personal best of 5815 points last month, which saw her better the previous British youth heptathlon record held by Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
The 17-year-old, who won high jump bronze at the recent British Championships, said: “It’s a huge privilege just to wear the kit, but to lead the team; it’s a massive honour for me.
“I’m ranked third in Europe, so to secure a medal or to be in the mix to get one would definitely be something that I’m looking to do.”
Lonsdale, who competed at the World Youth Championships last year and won the 2014 London Mini Marathon, said: “We’ve got such a great team, so to be a team captain and seen as a role model is a great feeling. The team is absolutely amazing and has bonded so well already. We’ve got really close and we’re ready and raring to go for the championships ahead.
“I’m looking to qualify for the 800m final – there are three rounds, which is going to be challenging but I’d at least like to medal.”
While Talbot set a British youth decathlon record of 7035 points in May and said: “It’s an honour being selected by fellow athletes to be one of the captains. It’s a really exciting team with some real quality.
“I’m looking for a really good performance and we’ll see what that brings. We had our first session on the track and everyone is excited and looking forward to getting underway in a few days’ time.”
The full GB team can be found listed here.
Among other athletes in action are Greece’s world youth pole vault record-holder Emmanouil Karalis, who cleared 5.55m in May, Serbia’s world youth 3000m rankings leader Elzan Bibic and Moldova’s Alexandra Emelianov, the world youth discus champion and European Youth Olympic Festival winner.
Start lists for the championships can be found here.