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Digital Subscriptions > Athletics Weekly > 07/07/2016 > TEN YEARS ON

TEN YEARS ON

MEL WATMAN DISCOVERS WHAT BECAME OF THE ENGLISH SCHOOLS WINNERS FROM A DECADE AGO

WHILE browsing through some old issues of AW from 2006 recently, I noticed the cover of the July 13 issue. “2012 here we come!” it proclaimed in big type. “Future Olympians in action at Sainsbury’s English Schools Championships.” That set me wondering how many of the competitors at those championships in Gateshead did indeed make it to the London Olympics. The answer was seven: Gerald Phiri (but representing Zambia) and James Dasaolu in the 100m, Danny Talbot in the 4x100m relay, Nigel Levine in the 4x400m relay, Andy Pozzi in the 110m hurdles, Laura Weightman in the 1500m and Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the heptathlon.

Gerald Phiri: represented Zambia at London 2012
KEITH MAYHEW

Of that group, only Phiri won an English Schools title, the senior 100m. Dasaolu didn’t get through his heat in that event, and neither did Talbot in the intermediate 100m. Levine placed fourth in the senior 200m, while Pozzi finished 10th in the junior long jump, Weightman fourth in the intermediate 1500m and Johnson-Thompson third in the junior high jump. It should be mentioned that senior 3000m winner Steph Twell may have missed out on the 2012 Games following her horrendous ankle injury of the previous year but she did contest the 2008 Olympic 1500m in Beijing while still a teenager.

My curiosity aroused now, I decided to check, primarily via the Power of 10 website, just what has happened to all 90 winners at those Gateshead championships in the 10 years since. The athletes would now be aged between 24 and 29 and theoretically at the peak of their careers.

Steph Twell: from English Schools to Beijing and next, Rio de Janeiro

My research was alarming and confirmed the impression that far too many of our most promising athletes fall by the wayside, often before they even reach their twenties. There can be any number of contributing factors to this failure to develop as senior athletes, and it would be useful if the governing bodies or some university sports science department could investigate this continual loss of youthful talent.

Of the 48 champions in the boys’ events, just one (Phiri) went on to become an Olympian, while seven others became a senior British international (ie, competing in World, World Indoor, World Cross Country, European, European Indoor, European Cross Country or European Cup/Team Championship). They were: Richard Kilty (2014 World & 2015 European Indoor 60m champion), Chris Clarke (2010 World Indoor 4x400m bronze), James Brewer (2009 World 1500m semi-finalist), James Shane (1500m), Nathan Woodward (2011 World 400m hurdles semi-finalist), 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Max Eaves (pole vault) and James Campbell (javelin). The majority of the other 40 winners at what was the biggest athletics occasion of their lives at that point had either quit the sport within five years or had continued longer but without ever having improved significantly on their 2006 performances.

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About Athletics Weekly

THE BIG INTERVIEW 16 JADE LALLY The English discus record-holder reflects on her journey to securing an Olympic spot NEWS 6 CAS hold key to Russia in Rio 8 Giles back on two feet after bike crash 10 Rimmer runs SB after injection 12 Hamstring injury gives Bolt nervy wait 13 Pearson target’s Gold Coast 2018 PERFORMANCE 46 Wendy Sly’s killer training session 48 Research: Menstrual cycle on performance 50 Club night – Ayr Seaforth STATISTICS 22 Men’s defending Olympic champions and how they might fare at the Rio Games SPOTLIGHT 28 A look at the career of Ireland’s Maeve Kyle 30 Mel Watman investigates what happened to competitors from the 2006 English Schools 42 Masters sensation Tony Bowman ACTION 52 US Championships – world-leading marks and a top long jump competition as athletes battle for Rio Olympic Games places 56 British Athletics League – coverage of the Premiership match in Birmingham 58 UK Women’s League – report on Premiership action from the meeting at Lee Valley RESULTS & FIXTURES 60 Results round-up 75 What’s On – fixtures guide PREVIEW 73 A look ahead to the New Balance English Schools T&F Championships in Gateshead REGULARS 38 YOUNG ATHLETE 40 YOUR SAY 78 QUIZ CORNER 82 DIP FINISH

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