Kettering Town Harrier Alice all set for European U18 Championships
The Championships will see the best athletes from the 48 athletics member federations do battle over four days of intense competition.
This is the third U18 Championships, delayed from the original date in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic and the previous championships in Gyor in 2018 saw Kettering-based athlete Emily Williams winning a brilliant silver medal in the 1500m.
Competing for Harriers and attending sixth form at Northampton School for Boys, 17-year-old Bates has won her first full International GB vest, competing in the 1500m after setting the qualification standard at the last Watford Grand Prix meeting.
She goes into the competition effectively ranked eighth in Europe for eligible athletes and will be confident she can improve on her time this season.
She has been consistently improving since joining the Harriers in late 2018 and has set PBs in both the 1500m and 3000m where she is ranked number two in the UK U20 as a bottom year athlete.
“The selection meeting when athletes are notified if they made the cut or not was tough,” Bates said.
“It was an afternoon meeting so athletes were not notified until early evening, we received the call at tea time and I was over the moon.
“It’s been an exciting few days, sorting the GB kit and travel details and I now just want to concentrate on getting my head down in training and finalising my preparations and I will sit down with my coach to discuss these.
“It’s a massive opportunity and I’m incredibly proud to have been selected for my first GB vest.”
Coach Shane Smith added: “Alice is one of the hardest working athletes in the squad and completely fearless in training where she will routinely compete against some of the best males athletes in the group.
“This is an important dynamic for the large training squad at Kettering and I’m a firm believer that this type of regular inter-squad competition has been instrumental in developing Alice and others in the group.
“She has had a brilliant start to the season and her place in the GB team is well deserved, and will be a great experience to help propel her to the next level.”
Bates’ selection means she will have to miss the English Schools National Championships between July 8 and 9 at Sports City in Manchester.
But six other Harriers will be in action in the prestigious event with Dylan White (400m), Maggie Gancheva (800m), Chelsie Locker (800m) and Jemima Davey (1500m) all set to make their first appearances.
Alice Bennett (800m) makes her third English Schools appearance while Ryan Amesimeku (200m) returns to the event having finished sixth in the 100m last year.
Bennett finished just out of the medals in fourth place in 2021 and, as the UK ranked number two athlete, she will be hoping to improve on this and achieve a podium finish.