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Bainbridge aiming for world stage after huge throw earns English javelin title

Daniel Bainbridge at the England Athletics U20 Championships in Bedford with his coach, Michael McNeil Picture: John Bainbridge

Daniel Bainbridge at the England Athletics U20 Championships in Bedford with his coach, Michael McNeil Picture: John Bainbridge

John Bainbridge

He’s just claimed the English under-20 men’s javelin crown in style but Daniel Bainbridge needs to throw even further to secure a place at the approaching World U20 Championships.

Daniel Bainbridge on top of the podium at the England Athletics U20 Championships Picture: John BainbridgeDaniel Bainbridge on top of the podium at the England Athletics U20 Championships Picture: John Bainbridge

The 19-year-old, originally from Mulbarton, claimed the national title with a new personal best throw of exactly 69 metres at the England Athletics U20 Championships in Bedford on Saturday, 6.28m further than his closest competitor.

“I was expecting a good throw because it was the World Junior trials as well as the English Championships and I need to hit a certain standard to qualify for the World Juniors, so the aim was to peak at this time,” Bainbridge explained. “I was hoping for a big throw but when I threw I didn’t think it was the best technically – so when I heard them say 69 metres I was very surprised.

“In javelin terms, I skied it, I didn’t hit through my points – but that means there’s more to come considering I didn’t think it was the best throw technically.”

It was also 2.16 metres better than his previous PB, set when winning the U20 event at the UK Javelin Carnival Open in Loughborough in late May.

Daniel Bainbridge, left, meeting world champion Johannes Vetter Picture: John BainbridgeDaniel Bainbridge, left, meeting world champion Johannes Vetter Picture: John Bainbridge

It also registers as the 22nd best U20 throw ever in the UK rankings, as well as 72nd longest ever overall in the men’s history books.

“It’s not too bad is it!” the former Langley School pupil added. “There are some good names on that list as well, Steve Backley and others, so I’m hoping to keep improving on that and it was a big win as well so it was a surprise.”

Bainbridge, studying sports and exercise science at Loughborough University, has already beaten the IAAF distance of 69.70m for the World Championships but UKA set their qualification at 71.50m in pursuit of medal potential.

The reigning English Schools U20 champion now heads to competitions in Belgium and Finland looking to reach that distance so that he can compete on the global stage in Tampere, Finland, between July 10 and 15.

“Last weekend has kick-started my confidence, straight on the back of the weekend before at the South of England Championships when I had thrown just over 63 metres (to win),” he added.

“The technique just wasn’t with it, so I can give it my all to pull it together this weekend.”

• Daniel Bainbridge wasn’t the only Norfolk athlete in action at the England Athletics Under-20 Championships, where triple jumper Wesley Matsuka-Williams also won silver.

The 18-year-old City of Norwich Athletic Club star jumped 15.04 metres to miss out on gold by just eight centimetres, although the English U20 indoor champion’s jump was short of his personal best of 15.32m.

That was set in Sheffield in February and is the longest U20 distance so far in 2018, but is short of the UKA World Junior Championship standard of 15.85m.

Other Conac athletes in action included Oliver Massingham finishing fourth in the discus with a throw of 52.90m, a personal best of over a metre with the 1.75kg junior discus but 67cm short of a place on the podium.

Hannah Brown finished sixth in the U20 women’s 400m in 57.27 seconds, having improved her PB to 56.26 in the heats on the way to finishing third at the South of England U20 Championships the previous weekend, also in Bedford.

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