In Sheffield English Institute of sport this weekend, at the England Championships, Henry Nwoke wrote himself into the history books.
Having only started training for athletics in June 2018, he has made rapid progress in every sense of the word. Taken on by his Maths Teacher, and coach at Liverpool Harriers, Michael Sweeney, Henry has ran a personal best at every race he has gone to. Finishing the summer with a 100m personal best of 10.87, he went into the winter training intent on improving. And that he did.
Having started up his indoor season with some open races in December, he went onto win the under 17 Northern Championships for 60m and 200m in January, with times putting him top of the country in each event for his age group. Some of his rivals improved through the indoor season, and so did Henry, culminating in the England age group Championships.
On the first day in the heats and the semi-finals of the 60m, a number of the Under 17 boys ran under the 7 second barrier, Henry running 6.98 and 6.94, with a game of cat and mouse on show for who looked the easiest in these rounds going into the final. Henry’s start wasn’t the best in the final and halfway down the 60m straight he had a narrow lead, a lead he fought with every meter to keep – and he did. He won the England 60m title in a new personal best of 6.91 – 15th fastest ever in the UK for this age.
The second day of the Championships came around and the 200m rounds. A similar game of who can look the easiest in the rounds took place over the 200 heats and semi-finals, with Henry running 22.74 and 22.32, drawing lane 5 in the final with the second fastest in the country on the outside of him in lane 6. Both of them went out hard in the final. Down the back straight it was neck and neck, coming up and around the top bend Henry started to show his class, keeping his form and taking a lead which he wouldn’t let up. He won the title emphatically in a truly special time of 21.85 – the 12th fastest ever in the UK for the under 17 age group, and 8th in the world.
In such a short time Henry has improved so much. In training we have changed his running style completely, mastered the art of block starts and put in the hard yards of winter training, always with a smile on his face. He asks me every session about his running style, ever the perfectionist. He goes home and puts in research into top level sprinting and brings me videos and questions regularly, he is a coach’s dream. Having competed at an international level myself, and coached athletes to this standard previously, he makes the role so much easier and the future is very bright.