Magnificent performances by Luke Duffy and Anna Smith at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas heaped credit on the Mansfield Harriers club.
Luke, 16, landed a bronze medal in the men’s 1500m, thanks to a phenomenal run and a personal-best (PB) time of three minutes, 49.70 seconds.
And Anna, who runs for Newark AC but who, like Duffy, is coached by Harriers’ Richard Massey, finished fourth in the women’s 1500m, which was an amazing effort for a 15-year-old in an U18 competition.
Massey was in the Caribbean island for the U18 Games and could not contain his excitement at the performances of two of his star proteges. “Both are now ranked 11th of all time in the UK U17 1500m rankings,” he said.
Duffy had two Kenyans and an Australian among his opponents, but with a lap to go, he was bang there in the leading group of five. With 300m to go, he kicked for glory, only to be forced to check his stride at the 200m mark as Kenyan John Wareru took the inside and broke away. Wareru went on to win in three minutes, 48.86 seconds, but Luke battled on and was just pipped for second by his England teammate Josh Lay.
Anna slashed fully five seconds off her previous PB in what was regarded as a career-breakthrough run. She laid up with the ferocious pace set by a Kenyan and was still second off the final bend until just finishing out of the medals in a time of 4.17.99. Scotland’s Erin Wallace took the title.
Both Luke, who lives in Nottingham, and Anna were among an elite England squad of 25 that travelled out to the Bahamas for the prestigious Games.