Eight Edinburgh teenagers – four boys and four girls – will travel to Lithuania next week to represent their city at the 51st International Children’s Games in Kaunas.
All eight are members of Edinburgh Athletic Club, and they will be accompanied by their veteran head coach Bill Walker and Active Schools Coordinator Lee Goodfellow of Edinburgh City Council, which has paid for flights and accommodation.
Competition runs over three days from July 6-8, and each athlete takes part in up to two individual events plus relays.
Some, such as sprinter Christabel Antwi and shot putter Kasper Lemvig-Allan, have already claimed Scottish Schools titles this season, and Walker describes Antwi as “one of the fastest under-15s in Britain over 60m and 100m”, having clocked 12.41secs last month.
Joe Ewing is equally highly-rated over 1500m, while the girls in particular will show off their versatility by tackling one track and one field event. Esther Watson and Niamh Edgar have both entered the high jump with Watson joining Antwi in the 100m and Edgar stepping up in distance from 300 to 400m. Isla Innes runs the one-lap race alongside Edgar and long-jumps too.
Completing the boys team are Berachiah “Bera” Ajala (high jump and long jump) and Calum Holmes (100m and long jump).
“It’s a first international trip for all of them and it should be a really good experience,” predicted Walker, a coach for over 50 years, who helped 1980 Olympic 100m champion Allan Wells with his starts. “They’ll represent Edinburgh against other cities, so to qualify for selection you have to live in Edinburgh and turn 15 by the end of this year. They’re all from Edinburgh AC, but they could have been from any of the clubs in the city.”