Impressive display from Sydenham athlete
4:36pm Thursday 26th April 2012 in Athletics
By Nate Saunders
SYDENHAM’S Michella Obijiaku played a starring role last weekend after emulating the likes of Olympic medallists Kelly Sotherton and Mark Lewis-Francis by finishing second in the all-rounder rankings at the Aviva Athletics academy sportshall finals.
The 15-year-old, who was representing Surrey, topped the podium in the shot-put after recording a distance of 11.35m at the flagship junior athletics development event of the year in Birmingham.
Obijiaku also claimed gold in the 4x2-lap relay, while finishes of sixth in both long jump and the individual two-lap race were also recorded as she ended just behind Phoebe White in the all-rounder rankings.
And after writing her name into the sportshall history books alongside the likes of Sotherton and Lewis-Francis – who tasted success in 1992 and 1998 respectively – Obijiaku was left grinning from ear to ear.
“I’m a bit speechless because I never dreamed I would get gold, let alone finish second overall,” said Obijiaku.
“I threw really well in the shot; it is certainly my strongest event.
“There was a lot of competition and so I am really proud of myself to have gone home with a few medals.
“It was great fun to be part of a team and one day I hope to be part of the British 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 track and field.
And Obijiaku’s efforts at the LG Arena didn’t go unnoticed with current Aviva GB & 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 Obijiaku is well placed for a bright future.
“It is nice to see young athletes like Michella having fun, enjoying athletics and that is how it should be really,” said Grabarz.
“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.
“There were some outstanding performances and the future of British athletics looks to be in good hands. Hopefully the next Jess Ennis is in there somewhere.”
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