Cram sees golden future for athletes

09 May 2012 / 15:46

London 2012 could herald the start of a new golden age in British athletics judging by the strides some of the sport's youngest Olympic hopefuls have made this year, according to Steve Cram.

British athletes have started the summer season in impressive fashion as they chase qualifying standards for the Games, with up-and-coming names especially to the fore.

Nineteen-year-old hurdler Andy Pozzi smashed his personal best twice in two days and achieved the Olympic 'A' standard at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) championships, which doubled as the athletics test event in the Olympic stadium, last weekend.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson, also 19, a former world youth champion, defied torrential rain to achieve the 'B' standard in the heptathlon and break the national junior record set by Jessica Ennis at a meeting in Italy.

Sophie Hitchon, 20, twice extended her British hammer record in California, throwing the 'A' standard, while 20-year-old discus thrower Lawrence Okoye, the British record holder, is ranked four in the world this year.

Cram admits this summer's Games will come too soon for most of them to challenge for a medal, but feels their progress bodes well for the future.

"I think we've got a good crop of new young athletes coming through, people like Pozzi, Holly Bleasdale (the world indoor pole vault bronze medallist)," he told Press Association Sport.

"I know (Pozzi's coach) Malcolm (Arnold) has been raving about him since the indoor season about how good a summer he's likely to have. It's important someone like that gets to the Olympics and gets some experience because his big chance is going to come maybe in three or four years time.

"There's a lot of good new talent coming through which might not win medals in London - although Holly's got a good chance I guess - but I think that's always what you want. There're a lot of good new athletes coming through, people like (18-year-old sprinter) Jodie Williams, a lot of exciting talent around.

"I would hope these games would give some of those young athletes a chance, because the vast majority of people who win a medal do so at their second or third Games. I think statistically it's around 80% in athletics. Hopefully a lot of the people who make the team as very good youngsters will go on and win medals at future Games."