Anchor weighs in with silver

18th July 2008 at 01:00
An 18-year-old college student with just two years' athletics experience has helped Britain win a silver medal in the world junior championships in Poland

An 18-year-old college student with just two years' athletics experience has helped Britain win a silver medal in the world junior championships in Poland.

Jordan McGrath, a final year Btec sports studies student at Solihull College in the West Midlands, ran as the anchor - the final and fastest runner - of the 4x400m relay team, when they came in behind the US this week.

The silver medal went some way towards compensating the promising young runner for not picking up a medal of his own in the individual 400m. "It makes up for not performing as well as I should have in the individual," Jordan said. He came seventh.

It was his second disappointment at these championships. Last year, he came fourth, describing it as the worst position to finish, just outside the medals.

"Events like the world juniors are massively important in the grand scheme of things, with Commonwealth Games and European championships also on the horizon," he said.

Jordan only took up athletics competitively at 16, but made fast progress, becoming the youngest person ever to reach the senior final of the 400m at the Amateur Athletic Association championships last year.

He was not the only product of college sport to be a success at the championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Stephanie Twell, a former Farnborough Sixth Form College student, was Great Britain's star competitor after winning the team's only gold medal by taking first place in the 1,500m.

Now in her first year of university studies, the 18-year-old became European cross-country champion while still studying for her A-levels, and has already been compared with Paula Radcliffe for her determination.

Despite her youth, Stephanie has drawn up a plan that would see her moving up the race distances to run the marathon at the 2020 Olympics.

She has her eye on winning a 1,500m medal on home turf when the Olympics come to London in 2012, although her time of 4 minutes 15.09 seconds in Poland has also put her under consideration for this year's Olympics in Beijing.

Another college star, Richard Kilty from Stockton Riverside College in the Tees Valley, was not so lucky. He was team captain for the 4x100m relay team, which came in fifth after a mistake on the first baton change. The 18-year-old part-time student also failed to qualify for the 200m final.

But it was mainly good news for Great Britain's college stars, with the tone set on the second day by Ashlee Nelson, 17, who won silver in the women's 100m. It was the second time the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College student had won a medal in global competition.

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