Suffolk thrower's talent recognised

SUFFOLK teenage javelin thrower Matti Mortimore has become the youngest person ever to be selected for UK Athletics' World Class Talent programme.The 14-year-old Ipswich Harriers thrower joins a group of 80 young athletes - whose average age is nearly 18 - that have been earmarked as being seven to ten years away from the Olympic podium.

Stuart Watson

SUFFOLK teenage javelin thrower Matti Mortimore has become the youngest person ever to be selected for UK Athletics' World Class Talent programme.

The 14-year-old Ipswich Harriers thrower joins a group of 80 young athletes - whose average age is nearly 18 - that have been earmarked as being seven to ten years away from the Olympic podium.

The programme aims to provide an introduction to good processes and practices for athletes, moving them on from a local club mentality into more of a professional national and international outlook.

Mortimore, who lives in Newbourne, near Waldringfield, will now be given access to the very best coaches, facilities and medical advice, and will link up with the rest of the group for regular training camps.

Rob Denmark, Great Britain's gold medallist in the 5,000m at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, was responsible for putting Mortimore forward for the programme in his role as Regional Talent Manager for UK Athletics.

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He said: “I felt Matti had the appropriate skills to convert into a senior athlete. He's very driven, very motivated and most importantly his desire to do this sport shines though.

Mortimore will now work with the likes of former Olympic javelin silver medallist Steve Backley on strength and conditioning, while former Olympic sprinter Katherine Merry will also act as a mentor on the programme.

Mortimore, who has already been to two UK Athletics training camps over the winter, said: “Everyone comes from different athletics backgrounds and we all bring different traits with us. Although I'm the youngest none of the others look down on me.

“My technique is coming along a lot now, but I still need to do some work. I don't think people realise quite how technical a sport javelin is. All my friends think it's just throwing a stick, but I could say the same about football.”

Mortimore recently made the step up from the under-15 age group to under-17s, progressing to the heavier 700g javelin.

Now, Mortimore is already throwing over 70m with his new javelin, just three metres off of the British U17 record.

As a result Mortimore has been selected for both the eastern region and national U17 javelin squads, both led by his former Ipswich Harriers coach Nigel Bevan.

Bevan, a former Olympian himself, now works as the High Performance Coach at the University of Wales, Cardiff, but continues to train Mortimore most weekends at various training camps.

He said: “I think the way he is going he will break the U17 record in the summer. I've said all along that he is the real deal. He is undoubtedly a talent and is the future, as long as we can keep him injury free.

“Even the Finnish national coach thinks that one day he could be an Olympic champion.”

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