Mark Lewis-Francis after winning the 100m at the 2000 IAAF World Junior Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Santiago stars seek AAA Under 20 Indoor Titles

Many of the teenagers who helped each other strike Gold for the Norwich Union Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team at last October’s IAAF World Junior Championships meet again as rivals at the Norwich Union AAA Under 20 Indoor Championships at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 February.

It is the first major Junior meeting of the year and has attracted record entries, 30 per cent up on last winter.

World Junior 100m Champion Mark Lewis-Francis (Birchfield Harriers) lines up in the 60m against the three team-mates with whom he won the 4x100m title in Santiago – Dwayne Grant (Blackheath Harriers), Tyrone Edgar (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) and the World Junior 200m Bronze medallist, Tim Benjamin (Cardiff AAC). Their presence suggests the championship best time of 6.66 seconds, clocked by Olympic 100m finalist Dwain Chambers (Belgrave Harriers), will be under threat. While Benjamin is the defending Champion, 18-year-old Lewis-Francis lowered his own best down to 6.65 seconds at the Norwich Union Indoor Grand Prix at the NIA on 18 February.

With Lewis-Francis insisting he still cannot sprint round a bend, Edgar and Grant head the 200m entries – and Benjamin has added his name to the 400m contenders.

Two of the Junior women who unexpectedly won the 4x400m for Britain in Santiago, Kim Wall (Basildon AC) and Lisa Miller (Cambridge Harriers), are due to clash in a 200m which could threaten the high quality championship best of 23.31 seconds by Olympian Sarah Wilhemy (Southend AC). Also among the entry are Vernicha James (Belgrave Harriers), who was fifth in the 200m in Santiago and the reigning Champion, Lowri Jones (Cardiff AAC).

James, Wall and Miller are also entered in the 60m – as are two more of Britain’s Santiago stars, sprint hurdlers Sara McGreavy (Leamington C&AC) and Helen Worsey (Birchfield Harriers – though Wall may opt for the 400m.

Others from the World Juniors Team in action at the NIA include Chuka Enih-Snell (Swansea Harriers) in the high jump, Rebecca Lyne (Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield) in the 800m, Ellie Spain (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) aiming to improve the pole vault championship best of 3.65m she set last year, and Claire Smithson (Brighton & Hove AC) in the shot put.

UK Athletics for the IAAF