STRATFORD Athletic Club’s UK champion shot put star Lewis Byng revelled in the “great experience” of representing Great Britain after finishing seventh at the European Athletics U18 Championships in Gyor, Hungary.
In sweltering 34-degree heat, the athletes went into qualifying in the midday sun and GB debutant Byng qualified with a throw of 17.61m. His team-mate George Hyde from Cheshire did not make the final following two no throws and ended up outside the top 12 qualifiers.
The following day the athletes returned to what they hoped was going to be a cooler evening temperature but instead they were greeted with pouring rain.
Whilst Byng did not hit the 18m-plus big throws he has become accustomed to – his best throw of 17.62m was a metre below his personal best – he still finished a very creditable seventh in a world-class field of athletes from eight other countries. The winner Aliaksei Aleksandrovich from Belarus threw a massive 20.97m to win gold.
Byng reflected afterwards he was “a little disappointed with my best throw but very happy with the whole experience”.
He added: “I was honoured to be selected to compete for my country and I learned a lot including how all the procedures work for the call room and the strictness of the way the competition is run at international level.
“I also learned these competitions are all about where you finish and to not think about the outcome of these competitions in terms of throwing a PB. That’s just a bonus if you do.”