A perfect storm of talent is brewing

Josie Czura. Picture: Paul Jacobs (141670-4)
Josie Czura. Picture: Paul Jacobs (141670-4)
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Last Saturday Josie Czura stormed to the Hampshire cross-country title.

The City of Portsmouth starlet glided through the mud in Eastleigh to take the county crown in her age group on a day to remember.

A decent achievement you may think but did I mention the 14-year-old was more than a year younger than much of the field?

Oh, yes, and she happened to finish nearly a minute in front of her nearest rival.

Meanwhile, Heart of Portsmouth boxer Ebonie Jones travels to Serbia this weekend to compete in her first international competition of 2015.

That will mark the start of a year in which she is aiming to make an impact at the European and world championships as well as the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.

At the age of 16, this remarkable young lady already has EU and European titles on the mantelpiece, along with a world bronze medal.

The possibilities for these outstanding talents are endless.

Jones has Olympic ambitions and is being earmarked for a place on Great Britain’s elite Podium squad in 18 months’ time.

Those lofty hopes are being matched by Czura’s prodigious talent.

Last year one of a succession of her victories arrived at a race in Chichester in a course-record time for her age group.

That’s something but it’s only when it becomes clear it was a battering of GB international Charlotte Browning’s mark that this little dynamo’s special ability is given context.

And these golden girls are just the start.

There is a burgeoning pool of sporting quality being developed across our communities, the kind we haven’t seen for a very long time.

In the swimming pool, Nicole Mackenzie’s achievements continue to impress as much as her fighting spirit. This is a girl who battled back from kidney failure and a transplant to compete in the World Championships.

The former Purbrook Park student just happened to get seven (yes seven) gold medals there – all in championship best times.

City’s Paralympic sprint ace Livvy Breen won a bronze medal, and all our hearts, as the youngest member of ParaGB at the London Games in 2012.

She has tackled her own challenges with cerebral palsy with awe-inspiring gusto.

Her talent, infectious 
enthusiasm and bubbly character made her a natural choice to become part of the Sky Academy, which nurtures Britain’s best sporting potential.

A bronze medal arrived at the IPC European Championships last year, as Breen also picked up a fourth-placed finish in the long jump for Wales at the Commonwealth Games.

Rio is now moving into focus on the horizon for the 18-year-old. Gold is all that’s on her mind as she returns to the greatest show on earth.

To have a single talent with the potential of this young group would excite most sporting hot-beds.

We’ve got four. Or have we?

Well, we’d best not forget about England international boxer Greg Bridet, who, like Breen, has his sights set firmly on Rio.

And Newport’s world youth champion, Keegan Brown, is being tipped to dominate in darts for years to come.

That’s after dumping out former world champion John Part in this year’s PDC World Championships.

And it’s not all about the kids, either.

Cosham’s Emma Bonney last year picked up her eighth world billiards title – and wants a perfect 10 crowns by the time she’s 40.

A perfect storm of talent is brewing around these parts, a sporting phenomenon you may not see again for a very long time.