STRATFORD Athletic Club star Jack Sumners was in brilliant form for his country when he represented the England Schools team in the International Schools Sport Federation (ISF) World Cup for Schools in France, for under 18 athletes.
The 16-year-old described the competition in Nancy as a “brilliant experience” after helping the England boys team to second place. The English girls won the event.
Having qualified and won one of the coveted six places in the team as the current leading U17 100m hurdler in the country and the second highest ranked long jumper, he went into the competition quietly confident of doing well and he duly delivered.
In Sumners’ first event, the long jump, his best jump of 6.85m was good enough for seventh place out of 24 competitors. This was a perfect way of settling any nerves and anxiety by going through the rigmarole of warming up and going through the call-up before the hurdles the following day.
Sumners was drawn in the fastest heat in lane five and “feeling good” – a combination which usually brings out the top competitor that he is.
After an “OK” start he was in contention all the way and in a mad dash for the line finished third in 13.74s behind athletes from Brazil and Taipei, which gave him a place in the final.
Later that day Sumners ran a blistering leg to help the England team to relay victory.
The weather could not have been more different the following day when torrential rain nearly held the competition up, but organisers decided to continue and Sumners finished one place better in 13.61s – a new personal best and only slightly behind the Brazilian.
On his return home Sumners said: “It was a brilliant experience and I’m really pleased with how I performed and now I’m looking forward to representing England as one of the 25 athletes at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas.”
The Games, which begin with the opening ceremony on July 18, will see athletes from 71 nations and territories gathering on the island of New Providence.
Sumners added: “I’m really looking forward to it and it’s going to be a great experience being part of the England team and mixing with athletes from a lot of other sports.”
His coach Paul Bearman said: “We’re all extremely proud at the club of Jack’s achievements so far and the competition in France and next in the Bahamas are another big step up.
“He is looking very comfortable at this level and his selection is deserved recognition for years of hard graft.”