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Hughes named in British Athletics squad for Euro U23 Championships

Harry Hughes has been named on the British Athletics team for next month’s European U23 Championships in Gavle, Sweden.

The 21-year-old javelin thrower has surpassed the 77m qualifying distance on four occasions this season, including becoming the first Brit in seven years to record a distance above 80m.

But he did not guarantee selection until the weekend, winning the England Athletics U23 Championship to secure automatic qualification.

Harry Hughes (13007620)
Harry Hughes (13007620)

His winning throw of 74.57m was more than five metres further than second position at the event as he cemented his position as Britain’s most promising javelin talent.

The Stowmarket athlete said: “I knew I had thrown the distance so I sort of knew I had already secured qualification. But it is great to have it confirmed – we’re absolutely going for a medal.

“I believe I’m ranked fourth in Europe so I will need to perform even better than my best, but the way I have been training and competing this year has been encouraging.”

Hughes is in his first season back in competition after more than a year out, forced by an elbow injury that required surgery last year.

And he has said his decision to undergo the knife has already been vindicated, with the obvious sign of a personal best and breaking the 80m marker as well as ‘pain-free’ training.

“I think, at the minute, the distances are there for a medal,” he said. “And the confidence is there too, I wasn’t sure how this season would go after surgery and more than a year out, so to get automatic selection for Europe is massive.

“It’s been the goal from the start, it’s what my whole year is based on and around, and I’m feeling good.

“Better than ever as I’m able to train hard and compete pain-free.”

But Hughes also knows there is still a lot of work to do, particularly with his technique, where he feels he could easily pick up several further metres.

“It’s a case of timing,” he explained. “So while the body is holding up well now and the basics to throw further are there, I’m not quite technically ready. But I really do think I can be competitive.

“Confidence is really important to me – I was really struggling with my elbow and throwing became really hard, but it feels much more natural now, and that gives me confidence.”

The 2017 event was won with a throw of 83.08m while third place threw 78.76m.

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