ATHLETICS: Joe so close to gold medal at Schools Championship

Joe Dunderdale. Photo: Getty Images
Joe Dunderdale. Photo: Getty Images
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GRANTHAM’S Joe Dunderdale was left kicking himself after only coming away with silver in the senior boys’ javelin at the Aviva English Schools Track and Field Championships at Gateshead last weekend.

Eighteen-year-old Joe is ranked the number one javelin thrower at under-20 level but was well down on his personal best of 72.55m – throwing 64.59m – which saw him denied gold by less than a metre.

The Carre’s Grammar School pupil had eyed etching his name alongside the likes of Mark Lewis-Francis and Perri Shakes-Drayton as a championship record holder and said he only has himself to blame for not performing.

Joe said: “I was eight metres down on my PB so I’m disappointed not to have won the gold. My PB is just off the championship record so I was hoping to throw that, but things didn’t go well.

“You have bad days sometimes. I was just throwing too high, it was losing a lot of power and distance. If I’d thrown lower I reckon it would have gone a lot further and I would’ve won the gold.

“I don’t think it was a case of the pressure getting to me, I just had a bad day at the office.

“My ambition is to hopefully reach the big championships in the future. I’m looking at the Rio Olympics. As long as I stay healthy and fit and don’t get any serious injuries I should have a good chance.”

Joe’s sister Hannah was also in action in the Intermediate girls’ 300m hurdles and set a new personal best of 45.52 seconds.

And even though that was not enough to take her through to the final, the 16-year-old heptathlete, who trained with Jessica Ennis earlier this year, maintains the competition served its purpose.

Hannah said: “I do heptathlon and I do the 80m hurdles in that and I just thought it was quite fun, so I started doing 300m hurdles.

“Heptathlon is my main sport and next year hopefully I will be able to qualify for the Europeans.

“Jess Ennis is a huge influence on me. I just started training with her this year. You get to see what effort she puts into being world class. I know what I have to do.

“I think she is so grounded despite being so amazingly talented. It is the biggest inspiration you could have to be able to train with your hero, which I am very lucky to do at the EIS in Sheffield.”

Also competing at the championships was Joe and Hannah’s brother Haran who took part in the Intermediate boys’ 1500m steeplechase, finishing in 4min 35.55sec.

l The Aviva English Schools Track and Field Championships is part of the Aviva Athletics Academy which encourages and enables children to get involved in athletics. For more information go to

l See page 85 for more results from the championships and other athletics news.