Athletics: Jonathan Shields prepares for Sunday outing in the Ugandan capital

Jonathan Shields (City of Sheffield and Dearne) runs in the British junior team at the World Cross Country Championships at Kampala, Uganda, on Sunday.

Saturday, 25th March 2017, 5:33 am
Doncaster Town Centre Open Races 2015 Jonathan Shields (left) Picture Dean Atkins

Shields has had a series of consistent performances throughout the winter, saving his best effort for the race that mattered most - the Inter Counties Championship at Loughborough two weeks ago.

Running in the colours of Yorkshire, the Sheffield man won the race which had been designated by UK athletics as a trial for the World Championships. The first three were guaranteed selection along with three more at the discretion of the selectors.

Before flying to Uganda on Thursday, 19-year-old Shields said “I’m pretty excited by it. My aim all season was to get into that team and thought I could make the top six in the Inter Counties but I never thought I could win it.”

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He would not be drawn about a prediction for Sunday’s race but said “I am going to Uganda to enjoy the experience of running against the best runners in the world.”

A student of sports science at Sheffield Hallam University, Shields is following in his mother Jane’s footsteps. She was an international cross country runner and was twice winner of the National women’s title whilst on the track she ran in the Olympic Games of 1984 and 1988.

Meanwhile, two South Yorkshire athletes have been picked to run for England Schools in the SIAB Schools International cross country at Port Talbot, Wales, today.

Following their performances in the English Schools Championships last weekend, Josh Dickinson (Doncaster) has been selected for Intermediate Boys race whilst Jodie Hill (Sheffield) runs in the junior girls race.

The Port Talbot venue also hosts a senior Home Countries and Inter Area match with Hallamshire duo Zanthe Wray and Imani Wilson representing the North.

With Wray and Wilson unavailable and with injuries adding to their problems, Hallamshire are unlikely to be in contention at the Northern Womens six stage road relay championship at Blackpool today but Rotherham are expected to be medal contenders again.

Last year they were runners up behind Leeds City. Emma Parkinson, Jenny Blizzard, Steph Burns and Natasha Hatswell from last year’s team are running again and they are joined by Zara Knappy and Sophie Cowper who run the long stages of 9.5K. The other four stages are 5.2K.

In the men’s 12 stage relay, Hallamshire, seventh last year, have the potential to make the top six if they are at full strength.