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youth olympic games (1)

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Katie Byres
Katie Byres

17 August 2010

Team GB’s track and field athletes kicked off their three days of qualifying competition at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (14-26 August) this morning in Singapore.

Katie Byres (coach: Julien Raffalli-Ebezant) in the pole vault, Themba Luhana (coach: Chloe Cozens and Alison Allee) in the 110mH, and Victoria Ohuruogu (coach: Lloyd Cowan) in the 400m, were the first athletes in action, but with two ninth place finishes and an eleventh place finish in qualification, all three narrowly failed to progress through to their A-string finals and potential podium positions.

Byres, the UK under-17 pole vault record holder with a lifetime best of 4.05m, cleared a best height of 3.70m in her qualifying competition. She’ll be looking to better that in her B final to complete a successful summer for her coach which has most recently included bronze medal winning performances from her training partners Holly Bleasdale and Andrew Sutcliffe at the IAAF World Junior Championships.

Luhana, the Youth Olympic Games European Trials 110mH winner, and Ohuruogu, the Aviva English Schools 400m champion, recorded times of 14.02 and 55.56 in their respective events.

Undoubtedly the intense heat and humidity of Singapore played a significant part in the performances of the trio, however, all three now have the chance to compete in B finals over the course of 21-23 August, contributing further to the development opportunities and international experience the competition offers.

“Despite preparing well for the conditions, I have to admit that it was brutal for all of the athletes in the stadium this morning,” said Jo Jennings, UKA’s Athlete Development Manager and the Team Leader for athletics in Singapore. “We’ve been here a week, and today is hottest day yet. With the humidity also at high levels, athletes were finding it really hard not to over-heat whilst at the warm-up track and then in the stadium.”

“I had to take ice out to Katie in the pole vault as the conditions were extreme. Themba and Victoria also found their track events tough as they had little shade, and even being out on the track for ten minutes before their race they were hot and sweating.

“All three were unlucky to miss out on a top eight place which would have seen them through to the A final and a chance to contest for a medal. They are all disappointed but are now keen to make amends as they have another chance to produce a good performance for Team GB at these Games in their B finals.”

Five more track and field athletes compete at the Bishan Stadium tomorrow, with the qualifying competition concluding on Thursday with the remaining five Team GB athletes in action.

The Youth Olympic Games involved 3,600 athletes, aged 14-18, from over 200 nations. For more information visit www.singapore2010.sg

For more on Team GB check out the BOA website at: http://www.olympics.org.uk