Lawrence Okoye, the giant rugby wing who has put British discus circles in a spin this summer, qualified comfortably today for the final of his event at the world junior championships being staged in Canada.
Waddon-based Okoye, 18 years old, 6ft 5in tall and more than 20st, took three rounds of morning qualifying in Moncton, but managed to exceed the required automatic standard of 59.40 metres to go through to his first world final, which is due to be staged tomorrow night from 8.30 London time.
After a 57.24m effort in his first round and a second-round foul, Okoye’s discus flew out to 59.56m in the third round. He goes through alongside world rankings leader Julian Wruck, of Australia, and Jamaica’s Traves Smikle, who managed a personal best 59.59.
A second qualifying group competes later today.
Okoye left as a pupil of South Croydon’s Whitgift School earlier this month. He was part of their Daily Mail Cup national schools rugby competition-winning squad in April.
Since then, the Croydon Harrier has concentrated on his athletics, under a new coach, John Hillier, and has won British junior and English Schools’ titles. Despite being recruited for London Irish’s rugby academy, Okoye says that he is seriously considering concentrating on athletics in order to compete at the 2012 London Olympics.
And come back over the weekend, when we expect to have a report on how the Croydon Harrier gets on in Saturday’s final.