Derbyshire Institute of Sport

Personal bests for Emerson and Knibbs representing Great Britain at Euro Youths

Niamh Emerson underlined her credentials as a potential star of the future by winning a heptathlon bronze medal at the inaugural European Youth Championships.

The Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) athlete, from Shirland, broke the British Youth record for a second time in claiming a place on the podium for Great Britain in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The Amber Valley and Erewash AC athlete accrued 5,919 points in setting four personal bests across the seven events, spilt over two days.

The only two girls to beat her – Ukraine’s Alina Shukh (6,186) and Austria’s Sarah Lagger (6,175) – both bettered the previous World Youth best.

It highlighted the excellence in performance from the 17-year-old, who was aided in her season preparations by attending an overseas warm-weather training camp, made possible by DIS.

“I couldn’t be happier, everything went perfectly,” said Niamh. “My long jump and hurdles were a bit frustrating, as was the high jump, which I pulled out on the last attempt. But I was solid and secure in everything and I ran for my life in the 800m.

“I can’t wait to just lie in, sit down and take in the next few days. Being a team captain to this Great Britain team is crazy, because the standard is so high. As I was one of the first to compete, hopefully it gave the team a little bit of inspiration.”

Niamh, also on the ICON bursary programme, set her four personal bests in the 100m hurdles (14.17secs), shot put (12.81m), 200m (25.19secs) and javelin (35.44m).

She also recorded excellent results in the high jump (1.85m), long lump (5.95m) and 800m (2mins 12.65secs).

Fellow DIS and ICON athlete Alex Knibbs, from Duffield, was in action at the same meeting in the 400m hurdles and won both his heat (53.70) and semi-final (53.68) races.

In a high-class final, the 17-year-old then knocked almost seven tenths of a second off his time to come home in 53.02, further bringing down his personal best from the 53.12 mark he set in June.

DIS athletes are given extensive support through expert coaching, bespoke strength and conditioning programmes, physiotherapy and nutritional advice.

Go to to find out more about the programme.

The ICON bursary programme, meanwhile, which gives athletes from across the county financial support, a free leisure pass in their area and valuable PR exposure.

It is administered by Derbyshire Sport and funded by local authorities and private ICON members.

Derbyshire Institute of Sport

Alicia Barrett sets PB at World Juniors as Eva claims European bronze

Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) sprint hurdler Alicia Barrett set three new personal bests on her way to finishing sixth in the World Junior (Under-20s) Championships.

The 18-year-old, from Chesterfield (pictured right, on the left), ran the second quickest time by a junior in a Great Britain vest as she clocked 13.15secs in the final, held in Bydgoszcz in Poland.

Alicia, also on the ICON bursary programme, had earlier finished second in heat two in a new best time of 13.35 behind Tia Jones of the USA (13.04).

She then marginally improved on that in the semi-final with 13.34, which was enough for her to make it through to the final as one of the two third fastest losers.

The closely contested, high-quality final was won by Elvia Herman of Belarus in a new championship record time of 12.85.

Former Derbyshire Schools’ Sport Association Awards Sportsperson of the Year winner Alicia is coached by Tony Minichiello, who also coaches Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.

“I am so happy, I can’t believe I have just done that,” she told Athletics Weekly. “Everything went to plan. I don’t think I hit a hurdle. I am very proud, even though I was beaten by a 15-year-old!”

There’s also been a significant success for another DIS and ICON athlete, archer Eva-Henderson-Hirst (pictured below, centre), who won a bronze medal at the European Youth Championships in Romania.

The 17-year-old, from Flagg in the Derbyshire Dales, took a place in the podium in the Recurve Cadet Women Team event in partnership with Eleanor Piper and Alyssia Tromans-Anselll.

As athletes on the DIS, both Alicia and Eva DIS athletes are given extensive support through expert coaching, bespoke strength and conditioning programmes, physiotherapy and nutritional and lifestyle advice.