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Athletes look forward to major event

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  • Athletes look forward to major event

For the three athletes who were invited to take part in the official press conference on Wednesday, they were all keen to draw upon recent experience heading into the European Youth Championships which begin tomorrow morning in Tbilisi.

“I learnt to embrace the atmosphere but not let it overwhelm me and hopefully that’s something I can take in when I compete here,” said middle distance runner Sabrina Sinha on competing at the World Youth Championships in Cali last summer.

Sinha finished eleventh in the 1500m final twelve months ago but the Brit tops the European rankings heading into Tbilisi with 4:17.48. “I’m ranked first so there’s a lot of pressure going into the event but I just want to go out there and do my best,” said Sinha, who has also been named as one of the British team captains.

The only quandary is Sinha doesn’t know too much about her opposition and it is not unusual for athletes to drop their best times when exposed to strong international competition for the first time. However, she believes racing in Cali last year has helped her to deal with some of the invariables.

“I’m quite fortunate because the person ranked second is from my country so I know her quite well but I don’t know a lot of my competition. Although I’ve looked at the lists, I only know them by times; I don’t know how they race. In the World Youth Championships I’ve had that experience of racing people I don’t know.”

On his international debut last year, Sondre Guttormsen only finished sixth at the European Youth Olympic Festival in this very stadium but the Norwegian pole vaulter made a big improvement domestically last month, improving his PB from 4.68m up to a national youth record of 5.02m.

“Of course it’s given me a lot of confidence coming into the championships. I PR’d by quite a lot so I’m really excited for this competition but first of course, I need to make it to the finals,” said Guttormsen, who is ranked fourth on the European youth rankings in 2016, alluding to that domestic competition in Oslo where he broke the five metre mark for the first time.

“If I make it to the finals, the goal is to jump up to five metres and maybe take a medal as well but the most important thing is to have fun, learn from this competition and bring the experience for when I get older.”

Guttormsen admits the domestic standard is not particularly strong so he is relishing the prospect of taking on Europe’s best prospects in the pole vault. He has also been brushing up on his homework as well.

“I sometimes look at the European lists online and when I jump higher I look at the lists and it’s funny to see where you are ranked and you also see how good the others are,” said Guttormsen, who cites Sergey Bubka and Renaud Lavillenie as his idols.

Roman Badridze has the rare distinction of representing his country in a home championships for the second time in as many years. But while he failed to progress through qualifying at the European Youth Olympic Festival last summer, Badridze isn’t ruling out the possibility of winning a medal in the long jump this year.

“The main goal is to pass through qualification and make the final and then we can think about the medals. I couldn’t quite do that in Tbilisi last year and my plan is to qualify here,” said Badridze, who possesses a 7.09m PB for the long jump.

Badridze is looking forward to proudly wearing the Georgian vest on the international stage again and the 17-year-old has said the national team has been preparing conscientiously with this competition in mind.

“I’m happy to represent Georgia. We’ve been in several training camps and the Georgian team hopes to get some medals,” said Badridze.

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