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Potential Breakthrough British Athletes In 2023

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  • Potential Breakthrough British Athletes In 2023

    I just saw this question brought up on the AW Twitter page from yesterday and thought that now we are officially in 2023, it might be a good idea to bring it into the AW forums for us athletics nerds to discuss and speculate about.

    Who would your choices be?

    (You can add non-UK athletes to your lists if you like)

  • #2
    Looking beyond the obvious (Burgin, Dobson etc) my picks are Matt Stonier, Abigail Ives and Georgina Adam.


    • #3
      Toby Makoyawo had his momentum curtailed through injury in 2022. His raw potential looks amazing.

      Chuk Ossamor is one to keep an eye on in the discus. Over 60m for the first time this year and will still be an U23 in 2023.

      Thomas Keen to have a breakthrough in the 1500m. Already 3m 37s I reckon he will go well under that in the summer.

      Isabel Wakefield, not sure if it will be in the heptathlon or the 100m hurdles but I think we only got a glimpse of her potential last year before the summer was cut short with injury.


      • #4
        Amelia Quirk ... I think she can go sub-15 in the 5000 this year, if she can get fit and stay that way - she hasn't raced outdoors on the track since 2020. Shortly before a recent injury she ran the course record at the National 4 Stage Relays and also had a cracking run for 2nd (behind Brigid Kosegei's little sister) at the Cardiff Cross Challenge. I think she had taken a good step up this autumn.


        • #5
          Agreed on Matt Stonier, 3:32 as an U23 is seriously fast and he is still one this year.

          Others who I think could do a lot are Onyeka Okoh, 50.95 over the 400mh last year and still an U20 this year, along with EU18 Champion Ophelia Pye who split 52.92 at the World U20s in the relay and could end up in the 56s this year.


          • #6
            Seems weird to call it a breakthrough since he won British Champs in 2021 and 2022, but I think Tade Ojora might have more for us yet: he is at an advantage in the NCAA with Trey Cunningham and Eric Edwards Jr. having gone pro, and he has Zeller there with him who will hopefully drag him up. I wouldn't be surprised if they went 1-2 at British Trials again, and since it's their last year of college it might be the start of a new hurdling era in the UK, with Pozzi leaving much to be desired recently.

            I also am interested to see what Yemi Mary John gets up to in college at USC (the same college as Ojora incidentally)


            • #7
              Some very reasonable and well thought out responses so far to this question, and a case for each one can justifiably made too.

              So I'll wade in with my own selection of athletes who could make big breakthroughs in 2023...

              Mia McIntosh:

              Depending on how well she's recovered from the injury that prematurely ended her World U20 Championships, Mia McIntosh is one of my top candidates on this growing list. EU18 100m hurdles champion, UK U18 record holder and 2nd on the European U18 all time list, all in the same year, McIntosh was well on the way to potentially making the World U20 Championship final before picking up her injury and having to DNS before the semi-finals. Had she done so, she would have been one of the youngest on the start line, with only eventual winner Kerrica Hall being a couple of months younger than the 17 year old.

              She ended 2022 as the joint 8th fastest European over the U20 100m hurdles, and with the likes of Anna Toth, WU20 bronze medallist in Cali, 5th placer Hawa Jalloh and Spain's Paula Blanquer who finished 6th in that race, all moving into the U23 category this year, the path seems open for McIntosh to make it to the top of the podium for the 2023 European U20's this summer. And with the recent announcement that the venue for the event has been switched to Jerusalem, McIntosh would be returning to a place that holds very fond memories for her.

              Faith Akinbileje:

              Still an U18 athlete until 2024, Akinbileje, under the guidance of John Blackie, stormed to the 200m gold medal at the European U18 Championships in imperious fashion, blowing away that season's European U18 leader, Holly Okuku from Germany, by over 7/10ths of a second. She would end up going undefeated over 200m in 2022 against fellow U18 athletes, and over the 100m, she would end her season by eclipsing Dina Asher Smith's U17 100m club record for Blackheath & Bromley with 11.53. Faith recently revealed how she's been getting advice and help from DAS herself, so with that in mind, I wouldn't think it's outside the bounds of possibility that she'll be a factor at the European U20's this year, despite only being 17 when the championship's start on July 7. And much like Mia McIntosh, she'd be returning to place where she'd already proved herself to be the best of Europe's under 18 athletes... could she repeat that with the U20's?

              Nia Wedderburn-Goodison:

              Yet another of GB's gold medal grabbing U18s from Jerusalem in 2022, she was not only untouchable domestically and continentally in the U18 age group, NW-G also held her own against U20's at the World U20 Championships, as well as in races lined up against senior sprinters too.
              This would culminate in Nia setting several PBs, including the 11.36 she ran in the World U20's that placed her in joint 7th on the European U18 all time list and 3rd on the UK U18 all time list (as well as joint 10th among UK U20s all time). It also meant that Wedderburn-Goodison finished 2022 as the 2nd fastest European teenager, behind N'ketia Seedo's 11.15 NU20 record when winning bronze in Cali. With Seedo (finally!) entering the U23s this year and Wedderburn-Goodison turning 18 in a few days time, the upcoming European U20 Champs this summer could see her returning not just to Jerusalem, but also potentially repeat her gold medal winning feat.


              • CAML
                CAML commented
                Editing a comment
                I expect Mia to smash the UK Junior record for 60m hurdles in the next few weeks. GB seniors are going to have their hands full this year with this exceptional young talent.

              • RunUnlimited
                RunUnlimited commented
                Editing a comment
                CAML That would be a pretty safe expectation/bet. AW have also published an interview with Mia from October today on the website, and she gives off the impression that despite being just 17 years old, she very much knows what she wants out of herself and her career in future.

            • #8
              Aha, 3 of our chosen athletes are competing on the live streams this Sunday ...

              1) Amelia Quirk (yay!) against a strong field at the Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza in Elgoibar, Spain - as usual England send teams to compete here of which Amelia is a part
              2) Abigail Ives in the 1500 at the BMC Indoors meeting in Sheffield, against a decent field including Sinha & Mhlanga
              3) Thomas Keen in the 3000 at the same meeting, up against Jake Wightman, Sesemann, Seddon & John Travers​


              • LuckySpikes
                LuckySpikes commented
                Editing a comment
                Make that 4 ... Mia McIntosh is in the 60m at the Lee Valley meeting.

            • #9
              A lot of the athletes mentioned have either won British vests already or are winning junior honours. I’d be interested to know who people think will really spring from out of nowhere? Perhaps currently outside the top10 in their event but have shown the makings of something special…


              • #10
                Originally posted by Runner88
                A lot of the athletes mentioned have either won British vests already or are winning junior honours. I’d be interested to know who people think will really spring from out of nowhere? Perhaps currently outside the top10 in their event but have shown the makings of something special…
                Erin Wallace - Ran a sublime 600 early last year and finished ahead of a few top Europeans (Bobocea, Perez, Maki) indoors in Brum but missed the entire outdoor season. Big 2023 ahead I think.

                Plenty of others, but Wallace stands out to me as somebody whose PBs are due serious revision.


                • #11
                  Runner88, I note all your picks were top 10 ranked, but I get your point. Alannah Fashanu in the sprints.


                  • Runner88
                    Runner88 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes you’re right! Hoping others with more of an inside track than me will get involved and we can all get excited over some new prospects during this quiet time!

                • #12
                  Making it outside the top 10 in certain events seems quite harsh as we are very weak in a lot of events. But in the events we are traditionally strong in then this rule makes a lot of sense. My pick to do well assuming injury free and he gets a good winter block in would be Ethan Hussey. Matt Stonier was ranked 15th the year before last and Ethan last year was ranked 15th (800M) and 19th (1500M). He is two years younger than Matt and so this year might be a year too soon but I still expect excellent progess from him. If I was him a target of 1.44 for 800, 3.35 for 1500 and an U23 medal at Espoo would be excellent progess.


                  • #13
                    Yes outside the top 10 is probably a bit too hard. On the topic of middle distance events, I am looking forward to seeing how Josh Lay does this season. Tough one for him last year but his performances as a junior stick in the mind as he was always one to our everything out there, even if the efforts may not have always been perfectly judged, ie Euro juniors.


                    • Loop-guru
                      Loop-guru commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I agree, Josh has an excellent approach to his training. He always tries to peak for the trials, does not overrace and seems to know how to come to the boil at the right time. He is not the finished article and probably needs more big race exposure which hopefully will come. He would be a good outside bet to do well.

                  • #14
                    In the 400M I would look at the largely unheralded lesser lights that comprised our mens 4x400M relay squad, namely Lewis Davey (ranked 10th) and Rio Mitchum (ranked 11th). If Lewis Davey continues his fairly linear progression from 2018 then 45.7/8 is on the cards which could yield sub 45 in the relays. Rio is relatively new to the event and 2023 will be only his 3rd season after converting from the sprints. He made big strides forward and that rate may be harder to achieve this year round but another half second gain down to 45.7/8 will at least put him in contention for another relay berth. I believe we could end up with 10 sub 46 runners this year so making the 4x400M team assuming we get a team selected is going to be very tricky and peaking at the the trials could be the clincher.


                    • #15
                      There's a bunch of very promising and talented heptathletes, all with the potential for making pretty significant improvements to both their individual event PBs and their overall points totals, who will be lining up for competition this year.

                      With Abigail Pawlett (5706 points - ranked 6th among the world's U20 heptathletes heading into last year's World U20 Champs, only for injury to prevent her from going to Cali) entering the U23 age group this year, that means there will be a new UK no.1 position to fill, with a view to qualifying for the European Under 20 Championships this summer.

                      Ella Rush:

                      In Pawlett's absence, Ella Rush would be her replacement in Cali and once there, performed admirably to finish a creditable 6th place, ending up with a new PB points total of 5591 (12th UK U20 all time) and several individual PBs. Added to the UK Indoor long jump title she secured earlier in the year, Rush showed plenty of her potential. Her one real Achilles heel is, as with so many of our heptathletes, the javelin, though she did set a new jav PB of 34.61m at the World U20s. In every other discipline she is pretty solid, though perhaps she could do with a tad more speed in both the 100m hurdles and 200m, and she'll need to push her high jump beyond her current 1.76m PB too if she wants to be truly competitive.

                      Eloise Hind:

                      Very talented and, in my opinion, could leap frog ahead of Rush this year in the heptathlon. She set a bunch of PBs last year, her first as an U20 athlete, including 2 outright personal bests (100m hurdles; 14.08, 200m; 25.60) and an =PB (HJ, 1.78m) at the World U20s. Unfortunately though, she had to pull out of the 2nd day of competition due to injury, with her well on the way to smashing her 5448 points total from Bedford earlier in the outdoor season and a likely top 5 finish.
                      Judging by the progression she already made during her first year as an U20, I can see Hind making some big improvements this year. Her one true weakness is the shot, with a PB of 10.61, and that'll need to get a lot better if Hind wishes to be fighting for podium places at future World and European U20 champs.

                      Seren Rodgers:

                      Like Hind, 2022 was Rodgers first year as an U20 and like the Oxford City AC athlete, she too made an immediate impression with impressive performances both domestically, and on the international scene. Apart from a near-disaster in the 100m hurdles on the heptathlon contest in Jerusalem, Rogers would have placed in the top 5 at the European U18s, as she racked up a spate of PBs across the two days. She also had some performances using the U20 javelin, shot and hurdles and showed that with some hard work during this winter, she could make some very nice progress.

                      Chisom Nwafor:

                      Perhaps the most raw of the athletes so far featured on this list. Nwafor only managed the single heptathlon in 2022, where at Bedford she set a new points best of 5361 in her first heptathlon as an U18, which meant she won the EA Senior & U20 Combined Events Championships and qualified for a spot at the European Athletics U18 Championships as a result. Unfortunately she only lasted one hurdles race and a solitary attempt at her opening height in the high jump before Nwafor pulled out of the competition with injury.
                      I only really saw her compete in Bedford, and the then 16 year old showed rather rudimentary technique in some of the events, especially in the hurdles and the javelin, which will definitely require working on. Even so, Nwafor already has PBs of 33.34m for the javelin (which she'd only started throwing in July 2021) and 14.69 in the 100m hurdles (that time set in her first ever race over the U18 height barriers). Meanwhile a PB of 13.81m in the shot put placed her 2nd overall amongst her competitors at the European U18s, an encouraging sign to say the least.
                      Last edited by RunUnlimited; 31-01-23, 19:29.