Harrogate students fly the flag at junior champs

NADV 1407011AM3 Jacob Fincham-Dukes. Picture : Adrian Murray. (1407011AM3)
NADV 1407011AM3 Jacob Fincham-Dukes. Picture : Adrian Murray. (1407011AM3)

Two St John Fisher Catholic High School students are aiming to make history as they travel to the IAAF World Junior Championships in Oregon this month.

Jacob Fincham-Dukes and Nick Petrou, both 17, were selected as part of a 46-strong squad to represent Great Britain for the championships to be held in Eugene, Oregon on 22-27 July.

Jacob automatically qualified to compete in the long jump after winning gold with a 7.61m jump during the England Athletics U20 / U23 Championships in Bedford on June 21.

Nick was chosen to be part of the 4x400m relay after achieving a personal best of 47.39s in the 400m at the English Schools Championships in Birmingham on July 12.

Aiden Pass, head of PE at St John Fisher, said it was an unprecedented achievement to boast two students competing at the competition.

He said: “I have never heard anything like it. It is a huge privilege to work with such talented athletes. They are an inspiration to sport throughout the school.”

Jacob’s father, Andrew Dukes, will be going to watch his son compete and said Jacob has been preparing well for the competition.

He said: “Jacob seems to deal with it really well. We’ve been preparing for it by making him compete against adults and he just sees it all as a challenge and enjoys it.

“He will have to get used to being in such a major championship but he’s always done very well on the big stage. He’s progressed year on year so I don’t think it’s something that will overwhelm him.”

The two students arrived in Oregon on Tuesday morning and Nick’s mother, Hilary Petrou, said her son had only one aim going into the competition with his relay team.

She said: “They all want to win. He will definitely be like that because he takes these big occasions in his stride and is really excited to do well.

“He wasn’t nervous when he left. It’s nice he will be sharing a room with Jacob because they’ve known each other for a few years now but he’s close to all the athletes on the trip.

“Even though he only found out he was going on short notice it’s right in the middle of the athletics season so he’s in good shape and well prepared for it.”