Senior challenge for teen athletes

First published in Sport

WORCESTER Athletic Club hurdler Heather Paton, 400-metre runner Georgina Greenwood and sprinter Zoe Styles competed at the Welsh Senior Championships.

The teenagers were competing against older, more experienced athletes at Cardiff Metropolitan University in their second event this year.

First on was Greenwood in only the second indoor 400m race of her track career. The 17-year-old from Naunton Beauchamp came a creditable third in her heat, recording a new personal best time of one minute 1.14 seconds.

To beat her outdoor best on the slow indoor bends of Cardiff shows the hard winter training is paying off for the talented athlete, whose main event is the triple jump.

Styles tackled the 60m sprint two weeks after becoming Worcester’s first sub-eight second female 60m runner.

She again broke the eight-second barrier, recording 7.98 which was just outside her club record, to miss out on the final by one place.

Styles returned the next day for her favoured 200m event and qualified from her heat comfortably, the youngest to do so by four years.

But the Evesham athlete pulled out of the final as a precaution with the Scottish Championships in mind.

She said: “With Glasgow coming up, my coach didn’t want me to run 200m in lane one. It has very tight turns here compared to other tracks and the inside lane is very tricky to run in.”

Paton was in action in the 60m hurdles final. Leading after the first hurdle, Paton lowered her own club record from 8.94 to 8.87 to come third behind two athletes four years her senior.

Having accepted her place at the British Championships, she can look forward to competing with the likes of Tiffany Porter and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

"I’m feeling sharper with each race,” said the Pershore High School student.

“The plan for this winter was to come to a peak for next week’s Scottish Championships and then the British Championships the week after. It seems to be working.”

The Scottish junior international hopes to follow up her success in last year’s senior Scottish outdoor event with an indoor medal.

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