Record-setting sprinter takes national title at English Schools’

By Matthew Kiernan

Sprinter James Dasaolu was yesterday named in the Great Britain team for next month’s European athletics championships being staged in Switzerland, thus joining his Croydon Harriers clubmate, Martyn Rooney, in the squad.

English Schools' champion: sprinter Tyrese Johnson-Fisher

English Schools’ champion: sprinter Tyrese Johnson-Fisher

Yet the borough’s sprinter production line has managed to discover another exciting speedster in Tyrese Johnson-Fisher, a 14-year-old who in Birmingham at the weekend blazed his way to an outstanding English Schools’ Championships junior boys’ 100 metres title.

The English Schools’ is one of the highlights of the domestic track and field season.

The championships have been staged since 1925, and the event sees thousands of the country’s top teenaged athletic talents competing over two days of intense heats and finals, and it has been the proving ground for the majority of the senior national team, with the likes of Sebastian Coe, Paula Radcliffe and Jessica Ennis among the world-famous Olympic and world champions who first won titles at the English Schools’.

Johnson-Fisher is a member of Croydon Harriers, although in Birmingham he was representing Leicestershire, since he is attending Oakham School. In his 100m final, he ran 10.91sec, the fastest time ever recorded in his age group at the championships.

It ranks him third on the all-time British rankings for his age group – and faster at the same age than Mark Lewis-Francis, who went on to become world junior champion and an Olympic gold medallist.

Croydon hurdler Rob Sakala was also in the medals at the English Schools'

Croydon hurdler Rob Sakala was also in the medals at the English Schools’

Croydon Harriers were also in the medals in other events, with Robert Sakala, a pupil at Harris Crystal Palace, clocking a lifetime best of 13.28 in the heats of intermediate boys’ 100m hurdles; his 13.44 in the final was good enough for the bronze.

Edenham’s Verter Oppong-Kyei broke the six-metre barrier for the first time in the junior boys’ long jump, reaching 6.14 metres for another bronze medal.

There were a further seven top 10 finishes for Croydon athletes, who were all representing Surrey Schools: David Olajiga (fourth, intermediate boys’ shot putt), Omar Reid (fourth, senior boys’ shot putt), Damien Powell (fifth, senior boys’ 100m), Mityrae Brooks (eighth, inter boys’ high jump), Shirin Irving (eighth, senior girls’ 100m hurdles) and Bradley Simms (inter boys’ discus, 10th).

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