The Norfolk trio selected for England’s Commonwealth Games squad
08:50 17 June 2014
Norfolk shot putter Sophie McKinna will represent England in the Commonwealth Games after being selected in a 129-strong squad for the Glasgow event which begins next month.
The 19-year-old is joined by Dereham duo Chris Baker, in the high jump, and Will Smith in the 1500m T54 paralympic event. Norwich-born runner Amy Whitehead has also been selected after her performance at this year’s London marathon.
Yarmouth-based McKinna is one of three shot putters, along with Eden Francis and Rachel Wallader, who will compete at the Glasgow Games which begin on July 23.
McKinna enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2013, earning her first British vest at the European Team Championships and winning silver at the European Junior Championships before throwing the ‘A’ qualifying standard for the Commonwealth Games in setting a new personal best of 17.12m.
Fellow teenager and City of Norwich athlete Smith, based in Westfield near Dereham, won four golds and a silver at the 2011 Junior World at distances from 100m to 1500m in the wheelchair racing.
Loughborough University student and Sale Harriers athlete Baker Chris Baker leads the rankings in Great Britain this season with 2.28m set in Birmingham earlier this month and is poised to make his senior GB debut this weekend in the European Team Championships.
Team England Chef de Mission Jan Paterson believes there is plenty of strength in depth and medal potential for next month’s event in Glasgow.
“Athletics is our largest squad and I am delighted by the calibre of athletes that we see in this team, not just in the shape of Olympic, World and Commonwealth Champions but also young talent who can really make their mark in Glasgow and become international names in future years,” she said. “They will have the privilege of competing in front of a huge crowd in Scotland’s national stadium, Hampden Park, which has been transformed for the Games, and will make it very special for each of them.”
Peter Stanley, team leader, added: “We are delighted to be taking a team to Glasgow that contains a combination of experienced athletes who have medalled at the highest levels of competition and athletes we believe are ready to make their mark at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Seeing the form already shown this summer by athletes in the squad has been tremendous and I look forward to seeing the athletes seizing the opportunities that the Games will bring.”