Michael Muckelt has been backed to pass his latest test as he bids for English Schools’ Track & Field Championship glory.
The City of Portsmouth javelin ace has just finished his latest batch of exams at South Downs College – now he is faced with the prospect of making the grade against the best schoolkids in the country at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.
The 18-year-old will be joined at the prestigious event by several other up-and-coming stars from the area, including Izzy Brown, Tom Farres, Leslie Parkes, Millie Cavanagh, Devon Brimecombe, Thomas Miller and Sam Wellington.
An exciting weekend of action is anticipated as the local contingent go head-to-head with the finest young athletics talents England has to offer.
And Muckelt has been backed to boost a potential medal haul heading back south by City coach Bronwin Carter.
The throws coach has worked closely with the talented teenager for years and knows his true potential.
His development may have slowed in recent weeks because of a hectic exam period at college, with a season’s best of 53.96m falling some way short of his PB.
But Carter believes he’s more than capable of exceeding his personal best throw of 57.78m – thrown at last year’s Hampshire Championships – and can be in contention for a schools medal if all goes according to plan.
‘Michael’s got a 60m throw in him but it just hasn’t come out so far this season,’ said Carter.
‘But hopefully he’ll be able to connect when the competition starts tomorrow. He’s just come out of the whole exams period and has had a lot on his plate recently.
‘He’s also got himself a part-time job which has made training even more difficult for him – he hasn’t been able to train as hard.
‘But now the exams are over, hopefully he’ll be able to build a platform.
‘He wants to do well and has been training well over the past couple of days.
‘I hope and pray he makes the breakthrough I know he’s capable of.
‘He definitely has the capabilities to pop a good one out.’
Hampshire Schools’ champion Muckelt warmed up for Birmingham with a second-place finish at the recent South of England Championships, throwing 50.80 in difficult conditions in Watford.
Carter added she had sympathy for her charge on that occasion.
‘I felt so sorry for him that day,’ she said.
‘It was so dull and dreary, and the wind was so strong that it made it near impossible to get a good throw out.
‘It definitely cost him a win, with him losing out on a first place by just 6cm. Hopefully the conditions will be good in Birmingham, though, and he and the rest of the locals do well.’
Joining Muckelt in the race for glory will be Parkes (intermediate boys’ hammer), Farres (intermediate boys’ pole vault), Miller (junior boys’ 80m hurdles), Sam Wellington (junior boys’ shot), Brown (senior girls’ high jump), Brimecombe (intermediate girls’ 300m hurdles), Cavanagh (junior girls’ shot) and Portsmouth Grammar School’s Emily Jenkinson (senior girls’ 200m).