Tokyo has been the setting for some of the most memorable moments in the history of British athletics. Mary Rand’s achievement in 1964 of winning gold, silver and bronze medals in one Olympics remains unsurpassed by a British athlete. The victory of the Men’s 4 x 400 m relay team at the 1991 World Championships inspired a generation of British success over one lap. ESAA alumni were at the heart of these successful teams.
As 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, Sophie Hitchon (ESAA Hammer champion 2009), and current world champions Dina Asher-Smith (ESAA 200m champion 2010, 2011, 2013) and Katarina Johnson-Thompson (ESAA champion in pentathlon 2007, heptathlon 2008) prepare for this generation’s trip to Tokyo, recent ESAA alumni Niamh Emerson (ESAA Pentathlon 4th 2013) and Alicia Barrett (ESAA sprint hurdles champion 2012, 2013-4, 2016) find themselves in a tradition of athletes who went straight from schools to senior championship competition.
A look back at the Tokyo teams of 1964 and 1991, and at the ESAA champions of those years, shows the impact of the hard work put in by ESAA athletes, organisers, and volunteers.
Image credit: Mark Shearman MBE – Athletics Images