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BACK TO SCHOOL

BRITAIN’S TOP SCHOOL-AGE ATHLETES WENT TO LOUGHBOROUGH TO CONTEST THE LAST MAJOR DOMESTIC TITLES OF THE YEAR

SIGNING the season off in style, Britain’s leading under-17s gathered for the 11th annual edition of this event.

Featuring an Olympic-style programme of events over four days, athletes from several sports get to feel what it would be like to live in the village before their competition – an experience from which the likes of Dina Asher-Smith, Daryll Neita, Emily Diamond and Rio hammer bronze medallist Sophie Hitchon have all benefitted in the past.

“It’s been great,” said the South West’s Anna Burt, who broke the 800m championships best by nearly two seconds with 2:07.58. “I’ve been to see other sports and it’s been really good meeting all sorts of athletes.”

Yasmin Austridge: 1500m steeplechase win and record

As for the race, Burt looked supreme. Unflustered by Emma Alderson’s usual frantic opening 300m, she caught the early leader a stride after 400m – passed in 61.37 – and surged hard down the back straight to open up a huge lead on the chasing pack. “I was expecting that fast pace early on, but I was confident I would win it with 150m left,” she said. Emily Thompson fought her way to second, to run 2:10.69 in what was a blanket finish for second.

Also in record-breaking mood was Yasmin Austridge, the defending champion in the 1500m steeplechase. By her own admission, she’s been in up-and-down form this year and not racing that well so was keen to put that to rights. She hit the front from the gun and by halfway was comfortably clear of Maisie Grice, eventually running out the winner in 5:05.50, well ahead of the 5:15.34 of Grice, who was comfortably clear of third.

“I moved down to 400 hurdles,” Austridge said, describing how learning to cope with a new distance and the technique needed to be a hurdler has finally started to pay dividends after finishing just fourth in the English Schools. “I recommend it for anyone,” she enthused, admitting that she had thought her endurance might have gone. “My coach said it wouldn’t have.”

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About AW - The best coverage of the No.1 Olympic sport

SPOTLIGHT 12 JARRYD WALLACE The American who stands between Jonnie Peacock and Rio gold 14 DATHAN RITZENHEIN The American hoping to prevent a Mo Farah Great North Run hat-trick on Sunday 24 RIO DIARY Jason Henderson provides a behind-the-scenes insight into AW’s Olympics coverage ACTION 40 2016 SCHOOL GAMES Anna Burt and Holly Mills among the record-setters at Loughborough 44 DIAMOND LEAGUE Laura Muir loses but gains the overall series title in Zurich NEWS 6 CityGames a “perfect fit” for Muir 8 Latest Paralympics news 10 Box4Kids scheme revels in athletics A BRIT ABROAD 30 Television commentator Tim Hutchings looks back on his travels to Rio and recent Diamond Leagues PERFORMANCE 32 Sports science news 34 Eilish McColgan on the ‘pressures’ of being a child of elite athletes 36 Tom McNab continues his expert look at techniques at the Olympics 38 Products – sports socks reviewed PREVIEWS 16 Great North CityGames preview 20 Great North Run preview 54 Previews – Paralympics and Brussels Diamond League RESULTS & FIXTURES 46 Results round-up, including report from Berlin’s ISTAF meeting 57 What’s On – fixtures guide REGULARS 61 Quiz – test your athletics knowledge 62 Dip Finish