THURROCK athletes Amir Williamson and Khai Riley-La Borde moved a step closer to reaching major international competitions at the weekend.
Both were competing for their club, Enfield & Haringey, at the British Athletics League premiership meeting in Cardiff.
And despite the conditions being awful in the Welsh capital, both men showed they are in terrific early season form.
Hammer thrower Williamson pulled out the second best throw of his life to finish second in the meeting with 69.92m.
Williamson, 27, has targeted a place in the England team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
His throw on Saturday was an agonising 8cms off the B-standard needed to be in consideration for the Games and ranks him fifth in Britain.
He will be looking to improve on that distance this weekend at the Loughborough International where he will represent England.
Riley-La Borde, from Purfleet, will also be racing at Loughborough and will be doing so full of confidence after achieving the qualifying time for the World Junior Championships in Oregon in July.
The 18-year-old was racing over the full, senior height hurdles despite being an under-20 athlete and smashed his personal best, running 14.22s, well inside the qualifying time of 14.35s.
Both are now in the box seat to win places in the Great Britain team for the championships in the USA but will still need to finish in the top two of the trials in Bedford next month to be certain.
Riley-La Borde will revert back to the under-20 hurdles in Loughborough at the weekend, hoping there’s no sign of rustiness over the slightly lower hurdles which he has yet to race over this season.
On top of the World Juniors qualifying standard, Riley La-Borde has also been celebrating winning Palmer’s College’s Outstanding Sporting Achievement Award, which he picked up after impressing on his debut for Great Britain at the European Junior Championships in Italy last summer.
Another athlete competing for Great Britain Juniors at Loughborough this weekend is former Thurrock Harrier discus thrower Duane Jibunoh.
The 18-year-old, coached by Sam Harrison, switched from Harriers to Havering earlier this year and currently leads the UK under-20 discus rankings with his 49.68m personal best and is also the leading under-20 with the senior 2kg discus, which he will be throwing at Loughborough. To gain selection for the World Junior Championships in Oregon later this year, Jibunoh needs to reach the qualifying standard of 58.00m.
Also racing at Loughborough this weekend is 400m hurdler Hayley McLean, who has been called up by the England team.
The 19-year-old, from Stanford-le-Hope, will be aiming to run under 57 seconds for the first time in the 400m hurdles and set a B-standard qualifying time for the Commonwealth Games.