Shuttleworth throws down the gauntlet

Richard Shuttleworth
Richard Shuttleworth
Ali Watson  and Katy Bradley scan finishing tokens for first time parkrunners Rebecca Howell and Jess Gwynn

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Richard Shuttleworth eased into the javelin final at the British Universities & Colleges Sports athletics championships and warned his rivals: I’m here to win.

The City of Portsmouth ace, representing Loughborough University, booked his place in today’s finale with his first and only throw at London’s Olympic stadium yesterday.

His opening effort of 70.58m made a mockery of the 65m qualifying mark and made the rest of the field sit up and take notice as he topped the qualifying rankings.

It was the ideal preparation for the 20-year-old, who was keen to make his mark on this year’s competition.

Last year, he finished second behind Matthew Hunt when the final was held in Bedford.

However, second best is not something Shuttleworth is keen to settle for in the grandeur of the Olympic stadium.

And with Leeds Metropolitan University’s Felix Hatton his closest challenger in qualifying with 67.76m, the current British number six is feeling confident he can add the BUCS title is his ever-growing haul and perhaps even break the championship record.

He said: ‘The aim is to win it outright. I’m definitely capable of doing it.

‘This is my first competition of the year and that throw yesterday went better than I thought.

‘We haven’t done much run-up work this season and it takes a few comps to get used to your run-up.

‘But, actually, my run-up felt quite good on that one throw – it was just the execution of the throw.

‘I’m happy with that, though, and I’ll take that confidence into today’s final.

‘Hopefully, I can really connect one and maybe even push that Championship record.’

The championship record of 76.92m was set by Chris Hughff in 2009.

That is over four metres further than Shuttleworth’s PB of 72.52m.

But with confidence oozing from The News young sportsman of the year and training partner Mervyn Luckwell – the current British number one – competing alongside him today as a guest, Shuttleworth is determined to win in style.

‘Mervin’s the number one in the UK and is going to be in the comp as a UK guest, so it will be good having him there,’ he said.

‘He threw 79m yesterday and has an 83m PB, so having someone like him there will be good and give me some competition and motivation.’

The Hampshire champion added that the Olympic stadium held no fear for him – and was somewhere he hoped to be returning too this summer.

‘I was at the stadium all day Saturday to take it in, so it wasn’t too overwhelming,’ he added.

‘Obviously, there’s not massive crowds here for the BUCS but the music and the atmosphere is still good.

‘And, actually, I’m quite good at keeping myself quite relaxed.

‘There’s a possibility I may be back in the summer.

‘I’ve already qualified for the trials and you never know.

‘Physically, I’m in my best shape.

‘I will get in even better shape by the time of the trials and I’m capable of doing it.

‘I’ve just got to technically focus.

‘That’s the most important thing.

‘If I can get that right, then it’s possible.’