Rio the target for GB's exciting new sprinters

Published: 12 Jul 2012 14:000 comments

A NEW generation of British sprinters are about to burst on to the world stage according to Bracknell athlete Sophie Papps.

The 17-year-old competes in the 100m and 4x100m relay at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona this week as part of a strong squad packed full of sprinting talent.

Alongside Papps are Rachel Johncock, Annie Tagoe, Hannah Thomas, Bianca Williams and Steffi Wilson in a relay side who are aiming to break the British record.

The team also boasts 2011 World Youth Champion Desiree Henry, who runs in the 200m, while the men's team includes junior world number one 110m hurdler James Gladman, European Under 20 200m champion David Bolarinwa and 18-year-old sprint sensation Adam Gemili.

Papps said: "If you look at what everyone's achieved at this age, if everyone sticks at it and continues to progress up to under 23 level and beyond then it is going to be really exciting.

"If everyone progresses then there will be a new generation of British sprinters in four years' time."

The Windsor, Slough & Eton AC sprinter ran two personal bests in clinching the 100m and 200m at the Junior World Trials in Bedford last month and, although Papps has decided to go forgo the 200m in Barcelona to focus on the 100m and relay, she is full of confidence ahead of the championships.

"I'm really excited and looking forward to the Worlds," said the Neil Dodson-coached athlete.

"I'm hoping to get to the final, that would be good, but I'm in the shape of my life and looking to come back with a medal."

The Edgbarrow School sixth former has particularly high hopes for the relay where the team hope to break the British record which has stood for 22 years.

She said: "I want to focus on getting the record with the girls and I am really looking forward to it.

"We've had some real quality sessions and it's going really well. The team is very close and we will win or lose together but I'm confident we can get a medal."

July will be a busy month for Papps as she has also been chosen to carry the Olympic torch through Hammersmith and Fulham on July 26, just a day before the opening ceremony.

She said: "I am really looking forward to it. To miss out on the Olympics trials last month was disappointing but it's great that I'm part of the Games in some way.

"Everything seems to be happening at the same time and that is very exciting!"

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