Jon Dunham – Young sporting heroes are doing Northamptonshire proud

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

The future looks bright for what is fast becoming an array of young sporting stars from this particular part of Northamptonshire.

The names of Charley Hull (golf), Daniel Keatings (gymnastics), Ricky Evans (darts) and now rising snooker star Kyren Wilson have all hit the headlines in this area as they look to take their respective sports by storm.

And while the focus will always, inevitably, fall on the ‘major’ sports like football, cricket and rugby union, it is important that these youngsters get the appropriate exposure for what they are doing.

Burton Latimer’s Hull, at the tender age of 17, became a worldwide sensation in women’s golf after her incredible debut in the Solheim Cup as she helped Europe record a first-ever win on American soil.

Kettering’s Evans has burst onto the professional scene in darts by more than holding his own on the PDC ProTour while also reaching the final of the Unicorn Youth World Championships, which saw him play in front of a packed house at the O2 Arena.

Keatings, who is from Corby, is perhaps more established having already been to an Olympics while winning numerous titles over the past few years to help put British gymnastics on the map.

He is clearly made of stern stuff having gone through the agony of injuries and seeing his London 2012 dream go up in smoke, only to bounce back with a desire to prove people wrong.

Keatings is now looking forward to competing on the pommel horse at the World Championships in Antwerp at the end of this month and is also one of the faces of next year’s Commonwealth Games in his home country of Scotland while the next dream of going to one more Olympics in Rio is alive and well.

And this week we have seen Kettering’s Wilson light up the Shanghai Masters.

Ranked 100 in the world, Wilson went through a gruelling process to qualify for the final stages and has made the impact he would have been dreaming off.

He dispatched Stuart Bingham 5-1 and was on a maximum 147 at one point and then saw off Marco Fu yesterday by a 5-3 scoreline to reach the last eight.

It isn’t a shock to see it happen, we, as a paper, have run numerous stories over the years about him. It was only a matter of time before the 21-year-old delivered.

And there is nothing better than seeing these young stars fulfil their potential. We have followed them through the years and now they are finding themselves on the national and international stage in their respective fields.

The credit must go to them for chasing their dreams, their parents who support them in what they do and their coaches who help make the magic happen.

We are lucky to be in a county that is producing so much talent in such different sports. Long may it continue!