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UKA Futures Programme?

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  • UKA Futures Programme?

    Long time snooper deciding to pipe up

    I was reviewing the current crop of funded athletes in the podium and potential list in view of the upcoming discussion due. and of course there are a fair few athletes whom need to be removed from both lists, but that's another thread perhaps for someone else to start.

    This got me looking at athletes on the futures programme, some now for a couple of years and wondered who we thought has earned the right to step up in funding, be kept on, dropped and of course which young athletes may be added this year?

  • #2
    Interesting first topic... I had been thinking of giving my report card on poduim and potential, then thought what do I know!

    However, for the record, those on the futures programme are ...


    Alicia Barrett (100m hurdles); Sam Bennett (110m hurdles); Maya Bruney (200m); Alastair Chalmers (400m hurdles); Charlie Dobson (200m); Jona Efoloko (200m); Hannah Williams (400m); Isabelle Boffey (800m); Alex Botterill (800m); Max Burgin (800m); Jake Heyward (1500m); Keely Hodgkinson (800m); Markhim Lonsdale (800m); Canaan Solomon (800m); Thomas Staines (800m); George Armstrong (discus); Lewis Byng (shot); Jake Norris (hammer); Divine Oladipo (shot/discus); James Tomlinson (discus); Serena Vincent (shot); Molly Caudery (pole vault); Lucy Hadaway (long jump); Holly Mills (combined events); Jade O’Dowda (combined events); Dominic Ogbechie (high jump)

    Some names that have been mentioned often in recent times (Burgin, Mills), some I have noted with interest (Staines, Ogbechie), some that have seemed to have plateau'd (Williams,Lonsdale) and some I had never heard of, even though I pride myself in knowing the next generation, (Solomon, Vincent)


    • #3
      Thank you, wanted to get a good debate going

      I agree there are some strange inclusions on this list, and with all respect very few of those whom have been included in recent years have failed to progress! Perhaps they are overpowered by the UKA format and forced inclusion and if their current coach isn't strong enough to hold them back and resist either the athlete or themselves then they will get swallowed up.

      Some of them I see are with "National" coaches already or have moved to them and become stale, as you mentioned Williams/Lonsdale etc (I expect those like Williams to be replaced by a few up and coming female sprinters)

      I suspect AC to be included in the relay funding moving forward


      • #4
        Originally posted by carterhatch View Post
        Interesting first topic... I had been thinking of giving my report card on poduim and potential, then thought what do I know!

        However, for the record, those on the futures programme are ...


        Alicia Barrett (100m hurdles); Sam Bennett (110m hurdles); Maya Bruney (200m); Alastair Chalmers (400m hurdles); Charlie Dobson (200m); Jona Efoloko (200m); Hannah Williams (400m); Isabelle Boffey (800m); Alex Botterill (800m); Max Burgin (800m); Jake Heyward (1500m); Keely Hodgkinson (800m); Markhim Lonsdale (800m); Canaan Solomon (800m); Thomas Staines (800m); George Armstrong (discus); Lewis Byng (shot); Jake Norris (hammer); Divine Oladipo (shot/discus); James Tomlinson (discus); Serena Vincent (shot); Molly Caudery (pole vault); Lucy Hadaway (long jump); Holly Mills (combined events); Jade O’Dowda (combined events); Dominic Ogbechie (high jump)

        Some names that have been mentioned often in recent times (Burgin, Mills), some I have noted with interest (Staines, Ogbechie), some that have seemed to have plateau'd (Williams,Lonsdale) and some I had never heard of, even though I pride myself in knowing the next generation, (Solomon, Vincent)

        Alicia Barret - Hasn't progressed at all from her promising junior days and unless something changes with her soon, that's unlikely to improve.

        Sam Bennett - Gold medalist at the Euro U-18's last year and would have been a medal contender at this years' Euro U-20's until an injury put paid to his season back in May. Huge talent and definitely one to look for in the next five years or so. Look for him making some waves at the World Juniors next year in Nairobi.

        Maya Bruney - Euro U-20 200m champion in 2017 and was looking like a real prospect over that and the 400m, but was struck by a leg injury last year and has struggled to get back to form an fitness ever since.

        Hannah Williams - Not really been able to get out of the shadow of her older sister Jodie and after looking good a couple of years ago, she hasn't quite made the step up that many thought she would. Still just 21 years old though.

        Isabelle Boffey - A season of redemption for her after crashing out at the semi final stage of the 800m at the World Juniors last year. She lowered her PB by a couple of seconds, won a very well earned gold in the 800m ahead of Schlbas, before running a storming leg in the victorious 4x400m team. To top off her season, she finished a highly credible 4th place in the UK Trials final, ahead of several older, more experienced runners too. A very promising runner.

        Keely Hodgkingson - Coming off winning gold at the Euro U-18's last year, Hodgkingson further built upon her reputation with a bronze medal behind Boffey in Boras, also smashing her PB in the process. All this at the age of 17! One to keep an eye on.

        Alastair Chalmers - Was the favourite for gold in the 400m hurdles at the Euro U-20's this, having set the British U-20 record earlier in the season, but then DQ'd himself in the semi-final. Another promising athlete, though with the current strength of the event in world terms, he'll have to improve massively to be getting into any sort of global final.

        Charlie Dobson, Jona Efoloko - The surprise packages of the World U-20's last year, with locking out the gold and silver medals over 200m over much more fancied opponents, doing so having set lifetime bests in the heats, semi-final and final (Efoloko). This year has been more difficult though, especially for Efoloko. Both would have been medal candidates in the Euro-U-23's in Gavle, but both had suffered from injuries at various times in the season, with Efoloko in particular way off the times he'd run last year. Dobson managed to recover somewhat better and managed to equal his PB at the 200m final in the UK Trials. Both have bags of potential, though in Dobson I think he might be better suited over 400m in future.

        Markhim Lonsdale - Hard to make much progress when you've been sidelined by injury most of the year. Big talent, but the 800m is seriously stacked at the junior and U-23 level in this country currently, so it's going to some battle to rise to the top.

        Canaan Solomon - Not really a name that I'm very familar with. Went out at the semi-finals of the 800m in the Euro -U20's in Grosseto 2017 (in which the gold would ultimately go to teammate Lonsdale). Not made much of a mark ever since. Missed out the Euro U-23's after getting the top 3 spot at the U-23 English Champs but not getting the qualifying standard a few days later in Watford. Will still be an U-23 next year, but as with Lonsdale, with how much talent is out there in his age group in this country currently, it might be difficult for him to make a breakthrough.

        Alex Botterill - Has had a very successful junior career. Former English Schools 800m champion, Commonwealth Youth Games gold medalist over 800m in 2017, and made the 800m final at the World Juniors last year (and would have possibly done better than the 6th place finish he managed if not for getting mixed up in Markim Lonsdale's fall). This year, he was one of *8* U-20's to go under the qualifying standard 1:49.00 for the Euro U-20's, and in any other year would have possibly been a gold medal contender at those finals. It was his misfortune that his last year in this age group featured the fastest junior 800m runners Britain has seen in a generation or two.
        Certainly deserving to be on the Futures programme.

        Max Burgin - EU18R, British Junior record, the fastest teenager over 800m for several years. Led the overall British rankings this year for several weeks and still ended the season with the 6th fastest time of the year in all age catergories. European U-18 champion last year at a canter. And but for an unfortunate leg injury on the eve of competition, he would have cantered to gold in Boras too.
        Quite simply one of the most talented and promising young athletes not only in Britian, but in the world right now. Fingers crossed that he remains fit and healthy over the next few years.

        Thomas Staines - Hard to make much of judgement on Staines really. American based so he's been part of the often hectic NCAA system and his performances are usually geared for being at his best for them and not for championships later in the year, as evidenced by him flaming out in the heats of the UK Championships in August. Certainly a talented runner but might have to wait till after he has finished college (like we did with Josh Kerr) to see how good he is an a middle distance runner.

        Jake Heyward - European U-18 1500m champion 2016, European U-20 1500m champion, World U-20 4th placer. He's had a very successful junior career. Not so succesful in his first year as an U-23. He managed to make it to the final of the Euro U-23's in Gavle, but could only finish 11th. Still only 20 years old and definitely worthy of being on the Futures scheme.
        Last edited by RunUnlimited; 24-10-19, 01:26.


        • Stew-Coach
          Stew-Coach commented
          Editing a comment
          good update!

        • Runner88
          Runner88 commented
          Editing a comment
          Just a remark that Boffey actually won gold at the Euro Juniors this year! Followed that by mixing it up nicely with the seniors at the British champs. Outside shot to make the Olympic team next year IMO.

        • RunUnlimited
          RunUnlimited commented
          Editing a comment
          Oops! Thanks for the correction there Runner88. Can't believe I got that wrong since I watched the 800m final at the time too! I've edited my entry now.

      • #5
        Who would you suggest to be brought into that programme?


        • #6
          Originally posted by NewHeadOfBA View Post
          Who would you suggest to be brought into that programme?
          Dom Ashwell , Oliver Bromby , Jeremiah Azu are 3 names that stick out for me


          • #7
            3 very good shouts! With Charlie and Jona already on I wouldn't expect 5 male short sprinters on the programme, so would need a sacrificial lamb or 2 from that list


            • #8
              I would imagine many of the medallists from the Euro Juniors would be on the programme, together with some of the U23s like Bromby & Boldiszar.

              Max Burgin & also Amy Hunt have probably run good enough times to be placed on the World Class Performance Programme but I'd keep them on Futures for now.


              • #9
                Cameron Fillery and Seamus Derbyshire have improved massively in the Hurdles. Holly Mills and Jessica Turner from the women's. Both had exceptional seasons.


                • #10
                  Id personally jump Jess Turner into the relay programme, really good progression this year, PB in the hurdles and semi final at worlds along with good splits in the mixed relay too


                  • #11
                    From the present crop of under 20's
                    Amy Hunt - sprints
                    Amber Anning 400m
                    Temi Ojora - High Jump/Triple Jump

                    Jeremiah Azu - sprints
                    Josh Zeller - Hurdles
                    James Tomlinson
                    Seamus Derbyshire 400mH
                    Abigail Pawlett - multi events (U17)

                    Plus some level of investment in the Charlottes

                    Charlotte Williams - Hammer
                    Charlotte Payne - Hammer


                    • #12
                      Assuming there’s financial aid, I doubt Anning can take it - pretty sure it will contravene NCAA scholarship rules


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by jjimbojames View Post
                        Assuming there’s financial aid, I doubt Anning can take it - pretty sure it will contravene NCAA scholarship rules
                        Isn't Amber Anning at the same college as Jake Norris and he is on Futures? AW did a feature on him and how it works for him.


                        • jjimbojames
                          jjimbojames commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I don’t know enough about the programme, but any AFAIK sponsorship normally has to be repaid before a scholarship can be given. Could be there’s no money involved, in which case, they’d be fine

                        • LoveSprints1
                          LoveSprints1 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Jake Norris :

                          "The 19-year-old from Windsor is currently studying physical therapy at Louisiana State University, where he lives in the same four-person student flat as teenage pole vault talent Mondo Duplantis.

                          The strict collegiate rules in the United States mean he has had slight problems accessing the Futures funding while in America but when he is at home in the UK he has made great use of it and, along with coach Paul Dickenson and his support team, it has led to him throwing UK records of 80.65m with the 6kg hammer and 73.24m with the senior hammer in 2018.

                          “It’s a lot of help, especially when I’m in England, which is basically around half of my season, as it takes some expenses off my shoulders and makes things easier,” says Norris, who was recently named junior male athlete of the year at the British Athletics Writers’ Association awards in London.

                          “During my first year on funding it gave me the chance to go warm-weather training in Leiria in Portugal as well."

                      • #14
                        Originally posted by RunUnlimited View Post

                        Now to finish my assessment of the rest of the listed athletes...

                        George Armstrong (Discus) - English Schools champion at U-15, U-17 and U-20 age groups. On the international stage though not much success at the junior or U-23 level. At the European U-20's in 2015, he made it into the final where he finished tenth, while at the World Juniors the following year in Bydgoszcz, Armstrong failed to make it out of qualifying. He then failed to qualify at all for the European U-20's in 2017. And this year at the Euro U-23's, having set a new lifetime best of 61.21m in Chula Vista in April - placing him 7th on the UK U-23 all time lists and would end up the 4th longest throw by a European U-23 this season - Armstrong would struggle to make it through qualifying, barely scrapping into it in last position, and in the final itself he finished a very disappointing 8th place, his "best" effort of 52.45m nearly 8 meters down on his early season PB.
                        Talented but hard to see how he'll fare in the senior ranks.

                        Lewis Byng (Shot) - Hugely talented. Last year as a 16 year old, he went to joint 3rd on the UK U-17 all time list with 19.45m (5kg implement), then finished 7th in the Euro U-18 championships. This year, the 17 year old moved to 2nd on the U-20 UK list with his 19.14m effort in June (6kg implement). Then managed to make the final of the Euro U-20's and finished a credible 8th place in the final, ahead of several throwers who had better PBs and doing so as the youngest finalist in the field too.
                        Time will tell what the future will bring for him, but with more experience and training, definitely one to watch.

                        Jake Norris (Hammer) - A much more difficult 2019 for Norris compared to his glorious 2018. Last year's World Junior champion and British U-20 record holder has found his first year in the U-23's to be less than satisfactory. Last year with the senior hammer implement, Jake threw the hammer over 73 meters, impressive for a 19 year old, before going on to win gold in Tampere with the 6kg hammer. This year however, he struggled to go over 70 meters all season, and at the Euro U-23's, could only managed a disappointing 9th placed finish in the final. Still at 20 years old he is an obvious talent in the hammer, continuing the recent trend of world class throwers in the discipline coming through in the men's and women's groups, and I think he;ll be back to his best come 2020.

                        Divine Oladipo (Shot/Discus) - She's kind of gone under the radar, but looking at her junior career Oladipo has done very well, getting a respectable 4th place finish at the 2017 European U-20's (shot put) as well as making the finals of for the shot put and discus at the Commonwealth Youth Games 2015. This year as an U-23, she finished just outside the medals again in Gavle, 4th in the shot put. Can she follow in the footsteps of McKinna and Amelia Strickler? Time will tell.

                        James Tomlinson (Discus) - One to keep an eye on. Has had a consistent youth and junior career, making the finals of the 2016 Euro U-18 champs (finishing 6th), the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games (winning the silver medal) and the finals of this year's European U-20 Champs, finishing a credible 5th place and throwing over 60m in the process. Hopefully he won't go the way of Nick Percy who was a good performer at the junior level but hasn't translated that form into the senior ranks.

                        Serena Vincent (Shot) - Vincent is likely to have gone unnoticed by many athletics fans (apart from the throws enthusiasts here of course ​​ ), but she has been developing very well at the youth and now junior level. In 2017, just 15, she made the final of the Commonwealth Youth Games, coming in 9thplace. But she made her real breakthrough last year where she broke the UK U-17 records both indoors and outdoors, and smashed the U-18 record too. She would go on to just miss out on the medals in Gyor, throwing her UK U-18 record (3kg implement) of 16.84m in the final.
                        This year, still just 17 but now throwing regularly with the 4kg shot put in the U-20 age group, Vincent continued to show improvement. She bettered her 4kg shot PB by over a metre during the season and though she didn't get out of the qualifying round at the Euro U-20's in Boras, this no doubt proved to be an important experience going up against some of the best teenage throwers in the world.

                        Should be an interesting next 3 or 4 years for her.


                        • #15
                          Molly Caudery (Pole Vault) - A very talented vaulter, Caudery has had a mixed career as a junior. At the 2017 European U-20's, she would win a silver medal, jumping a then-PB of 4.35m, moving equal 4th on the UK U-20 all time lists with Hollly Bradshaw, all done in her first year in the junior age group at 17 years old. The following year Caudery would improve considerably, opening her outdoor season with a 5th placed finish at the Commonwealth Games in April. Then at the Mannheim meeting the following June she broke the British U-20 record with 4.53m, at the time the 2nd best jump in the world by an U-20 in 2018 and moved her up to 8th on the world all time list. She was right up there as a contender for a medal at the World Juniors in Tampere following that breakthrough and much was made of her chances there. Caudery qualified comfortably enough for the final but then seriously underperformed in said final, only managing to clear 4.10m before three failures at 4.20m. Following that last failure she left the pole vault bed in tears, especially when her British record leap just a few weeks earlier would have been good enough to win the gold here.

                          Following that disappointment, 2019 proved to be pretty much a nightmare for the 19 year old, suffering from a lack of form that lead to several no heights on the NCAA circuit both indoors and outdoors, and a spate of injuries that would mean she only recorded one legitimate outdoor performance - a 4.05m effort at the Welsh Senior Championships in July, before shutting down her season.

                          Lucy Hadaway (Long Jump) - Coming from a multi-event background in the U-17's, Hadaway had already won a bronze medal at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in the individual long jump before in 2018, she made the move to that specialising in that event and showing significant progress. Hadaway would make the final at the World Juniors and finish in 6th, before a week later setting her 6.39m PB at a meeting in Britain.

                          This year she was already jumping distances close to her personal best (6.34m in May) but unfortunately an ankle injury picked up shortly afterwards that would end her seasopn prematurely.

                          A good prospect.

                          Holly Mills (Combined Events) - To put it mildly, Mills is already looking to be the latest addition in the production line of potentially world class hepathlon talent Britain has produced in the last 30 years or so, following on in the very recent footsteps of World Junior champion Niamh Emerson and Morgan Lake (and obviously Kat and Jess before them too!). Mills had always been involved in multi events as a youngster, but she would first came to prominence in 2015 as a 16 year old when she jumped 6.29m in the long jump, the best jump by a Brit that age since KJT herself jumped 6.31m at the 2009 World Youth Championships during the hepathlon. She would then follow that by winning gold in the long jump at the European Youth Championships in Tblisi, while a year later she would also win long jump gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games, while during the season itself she improved her long jump PB to 6.31m at the British Athletics Championships in Birmingham, coming third ahead of more experienced jumpers. However, Mills was always aiming for a return to her main event the heptathlon and during 2018 she had started throwing the shot put in preparation for doing so.

                          2019 would be the year where she fully committed to the multi-events and it was a pretty impressive debut season for the now 19 year old. In her first full on heptathlon contest at Bedford in May, she scored 5722 points, going straight to 6th on the UK U-20 all time list, the best debut points score by a UK junior ever. Mills also continued to impress in the long jump, setting her current lifetime best of 6.51m during the summer heatwave conditions at Mannheim this June. In that same Mannheim event, Mills would also set lifetime bests in the 100m hurdles (13.56), 200m (24.13) and the javelin (32.95m), in only the 6th time she had *ever* thrown the spear in competition to that point!

                          Come the Euro U-20's in Boras a few weeks later, Mills would impress in her first major competition heptathlon, setting PBs in the 100m hurdles (13.45 - run into a stiff -2.5 m/s headwind no less!) and the high jump (1.78m) and would have won a bronze medal had she reproduced some of her shot put form from earlier in the season, instead of the 10.86m she managed in Boras. All in all, she would finish 4th and add another 80 points to her heptathlon PB score with 5802, and already showing that she had a solid base to build from in the future. To top it off, a couple of days later Mills would return to the track and win a hard fought bronze medal in the individual long jump, leading the contest in a couple of rounds and could have won it with a monster effort in the 6.70/6.80m region that was narrowly ruled a foul.

                          She has so much potential. Considering that she was so new to throwing the javelin, shot put and only 2 years into competing in the high jump, there is so much scope for further development and improvement. I can easily see Mills as a regular 40m+ javelin and 13m+ shot putter, as well as a sub 24 second 200m runner. Couple that with the potential to go over 1.80+ in the high jump, she could be set to do some real damage in the heptathlon in the next few years. And with the likes of KJT and Niamh Emerson inspiring her along, then the future of multi-events in this country looks to be in good hands for many years to come.

                          An absolute no-brainer to be on the Futures Programme.

                          Jade O’Dowda (Combined Events) - Unfortunate to miss the whole 2019 outdoor season through injury. Did well at last year's World Junior Championships, setting PBs in the 200m, 100m hurdles and shot put for an overall points total PB of 5680 points and 7th place in the standings.

                          It's likely that she is not at the same kind of level of potential as Mills or Emerson, but O'Dowda could still make it into the 6000 point club in the next few years.

                          Dominic Ogbechie (High Jump) - A huge, huge talent who I was really looking forward to seeing compete this year after his breakthrough season in 2018, setting the world age best high jump record indoors with his 2.22m clearance at just 15 years old. Later that year he would win high jump gold at the European U-18 Championships in emphatic fashion, now aged 16. It's not just the high jump in which he has some skill at either, as he already has run sub 11 seconds for 100m, sub 22 for 200m (indeed, he won the Inter Boys title over the distance at the English Schools Champs in 2018 too!) and has a 7.66m PB over the long jump (indoors - has an outdoors best of 7.57m set this year).
                          Unfortunately however, shortly after setting his outdoor long jump PB in Bedford, Ogbechie would pick up an injury in the high jump competition that would prematurely end his season.

                          It's still not clear just what event Ogbechie will finally settle on, though judging by the trends in the last couple of seasons, he and his coach are narrowing it down to the high jump and long jump.