Sheffield teenager with Olympic hopes to represent Great Britain at European Athletics U20 Championships after “incredible” progress
A teenage athlete from Sheffield with Olympic aspirations will represent Great Britain at the European Athletics U20 Championships after making “incredible” progress.
Eighteen-year-old sprinter Louie Hinchliffe from Crosspool will compete in the Men’s 200m event at the competition in Tallinn, Estonia which takes place between 15 and 18 July after a stellar season on the track.
The former Notre Dame pupil has wiped more than half a second of his 100m personal best (PB) time this season and took 0.71 seconds off his 200m PB in just 11 days.
Louie usually specialises in the 60m and 100m but returned to running 200m in May for the first time in four years when Sheffield and Dearne Athletic Club were short on numbers at a meeting.
"Somebody joked if he was a man they would drug test him,” said Louie’s dad Stuart.
"It’s incredible. I don’t know when it’s going to stop, we just can’t believe it. He’s done remarkably well and people are really starting to look at him now.”
Talented sportsman Louie took a step back from playing golf in March to focus on his burgeoning athletics career.
A member at Hallamshire Golf Club, he previously represented England Schools and Yorkshire alongside Sheffield’s Walker Cup duo Barclay Brown and Alex Fitzpatrick.
“Athletics is in his heart, it’s his love,” Stuart added.
"His athletics has just gone through the roof, he’s one of the quickest in the country and it’s unbelievable what he’s achieved in the last couple of months.
“He’s very, very quiet and I’m sure he won’t enjoy the attention but I’m very proud of what he’s achieved.”
Louie, who is set to begin studying business and IT at Lancaster University in September, is currently ranked second in the country at under-20 level in both the 100m and 200m events.
He missed out on 100m qualification for the upcoming U20 Championships after his 10.45 time was deemed ineligible due to wind assistance.
Stuart praised the impact of his “humble” son’s coach, Rudolph Paul Hohn, who has supported him since 2010.
“Paul’s probably given him that confidence to get out there and compete because it can be quite a difficult environment when you are so quiet.
"He says it how it is and he’s been brilliant with Louie. He’s always believed in him and said things like ‘Louie will do this’ and people have said ‘that won’t happen’ and it has.”
Paul, whose daughter Zara, now 32, competed for Great Britain as a hurdler, added: "I’m over the moon.
"Louie will be the second athlete I have supported and coached from the beginning all the way through so I’m very pleased that I’m able to support another athlete moving forward.
“He will be targeting the next Olympics.”
There was more good news for Sheffield and Dearne Athletics Club as Ellie Booker helped Great Britain & Northern Ireland reach the final of the Women’s 4x100m event at the European Athletics U23 Championships, which took place in Tallinn on Sunday.
Meanwhile, sprinter Lee Thompson, who has been included in the Team GB Men’s 4x400m Relay team for Tokyo 2020, will fine tune his Olympic preparation at the Müller British Grand Prix in Gateshead on Tuesday.