RECORD-BREAKING Stratford AC ace Lewis Byng has his eyes firmly set on securing a Team GB place for this year’s World U20 Championships in Nairobi.
The talented 18-year-old broke the British U20 record earlier this month at the Loughborough Open, throwing 19.18m.
The Stratford College student has been training all winter with a new rotational throw technique, but being a perfectionist he didn’t think it was quite where he wanted it so reverted to his “step back” technique to produce the biggest legal throw of his life after having fouled 20.2m with an earlier throw.
Byng has now moved into the world number two slot, but he feels “there’s loads more to come” and is hoping for 20-plus metre throws at either the UK Championships in Sheffield and the Welsh International before going back into winter training to be ready and primed for the outdoor season.
The main focus, though, will trying to secure place on Team GB for the World U20 Championships in July.
Explaining the requirements for the Team GB spot, Byng said: “My throw is currently ten centimetres off the distance required to make it onto the team.
“But I’m confident I can improve and meet the necessary standard by the time the team is announced in June.”
Byng’s commitment to athletics began at an early age and he was ranked first in the UK in his age category for the 100m sprint when he was ten years old.
Following a recovery from injury aged 12, he transitioned into the throwing events and started competing seriously in 2017, attending the national athletics championships for the first time and finishing in second place.
Since then, he has gone from strength to strength. Last year he became U20 and U23 UK champion, and placed eighth in the final of the European U20 Championships.
Byng, who trains in the gym four days a week and practices throwing three times a week, explained the enjoyment he receives from athletics. “Shot put training is actually really fun and the competitions give you a buzz and adrenalin rush.
“Breaking a record or achieving a new personal best is obviously a great feeling and competing in international competitions makes me particularly proud,” he said.
When he finishes his sport course at Stratford College, Byng hopes to continue his studies at Loughborough University, specialising in Sports Science and Coaching.
“Shot-putters usually peak physically around the age of 30 so it’s possible to have quite a long career,” he added.
“But as an athlete, it’s always important to have a plan for after you retire from competition.
“Eventually, I’d like to work as a personal trainer or a strength and conditioning coach to help the next generation of athletes.”