CHICHESTER’S Collins Alfred was celebrating after matching the achievements of Olympic stars Kelly Sotherton and Mark Lewis-Francis and scooping silver at the Aviva Sportshall UK Final in Birmingham.
The 13-year-old came second in the under-13s’ two-lap race in 21.70sec at the flagship junior athletics development event of the year.
Alfred, who attends Bishop Luffa School, also took part in the shot putt but failed to add to his medal haul as he finished 14th.
After writing his name into the Sportshall history books alongside the likes of Sotherton and Lewis-Francis – who tasted success in 1992 and 1998 respectively – Alfred was more than satisfied with his day’s work.
“This is my first time at the Sportshall national final and it is definitely the biggest competition I’ve ever been involved in,” said Alfred, who also plays football for Chichester City United.
“So to win a silver at my first attempt is something I am really proud of because there are a lot of good sprinters here.
“Hopefully this won’t be my last time at the finals and I can come back to improve to gold.”
The Aviva Sportshall is part of the Aviva Athletics Academy which encourages and enables children to get involved in athletics.
And Alfred’s efforts at Birmingham’s LG Arena didn’t go unnoticed with current Aviva GB & NI Team heptathlete Louise Hazel there to cheer on the former Central Church of England pupil.
And Hazel – who claimed gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi – believes Alfred is well placed for a bright future in athletics after a storming start.
“It is nice to see Collins having fun, enjoying athletics and that is how it should be really,” Hazel said.
“For me being a heptathlete it is great to see everyone getting a go at a bit of every discipline whether it be running, throwing or jumping.
“Sportshall is a great insight into athletics and it gives Colins a great opportunity to give something different a go because at school you don’t always know what you are good at.
“It is like a little mini-Olympics and it is a great beginning for Colins and hopefully is just the start of his athletics journey.”
Aviva has been supporting British athletes since 1999 and paving the way for the next generation. Get involved in the Aviva Athletics Academy at aviva.co.uk/athletics