HAVERFORDWEST’S Jake Evans played a starring role after emulating the likes of Olympic medalists Kelly Sotherton and Mark Lewis-Francis by scooping silver at the Aviva Athletics Academy Sportshall Finals in Birmingham.
The 14-year-old came second in the Under-15 boys shot put competition with a throw of 13.51m at the flagship junior athletics development event of the year.
Evans – who attends Tasker Milward V.C. School – also took part in the standing long jump and the 2-lap race but failed to add to his medal haul.
His name goes into the Sportshall history books alongside the likes of Sotherton and Lewis-Francis – who tasted success in 1992 and 1998 respectively. Evans was left grinning from ear to ear after his day’s work.
“I’m really pleased with this result,” said Evans, who competes for Pembrokeshire Harriers.
“Any time you throw over 13m you have to be pleased and the atmosphere was great so I really enjoyed it. Silver is a great medal to get and I loved every minute of it “It’s great fun to be part of a team and one day I hope to be part of the Aviva GB and NI Team as a professional athlete.”
The national Sportshall final in Birmingham is part of the Aviva Athletics Academy which encourages and enables children to get involved in athletics.
And Evans’ efforts at the LG Arena didn’t go unnoticed with current Aviva GB and NI Team high jumper Robbie Grabarz there to cheer on the competitors.
Top athletes like Jess Ennis started their career at Aviva Athletics Academy schemes and Grabarz - who came sixth at the World Indoor Championships in March - believes Evans is well placed for a bright future.
“It is nice to see youngsters like Jake having fun, enjoying athletics and that is how it should be really,” Grabarz said.
“I used to do Sportshall as a kid so it’s great to get the opportunity to come back and hopefully inspire a few kids in the same way that I was when I was younger.
“Seeing the boards up against the walls and things like the standing vertical jump bring all the memories flooding back for me.
“There have been some outstanding performances from what I have seen and the future of British athletics looks to be in good hands.
“There are so many kids here all taking part and challenging for a medal and in the year that we host the Olympics it’s just great to see. Hopefully the next Jess Ennis is in there somewhere.”
Aviva has been backing the GB & NI Team since 1999.
Find out more at #BackTheTeam or search for ‘Aviva Athletics’ on Facebook.