ESAA could be justifiably proud of the achievements of their athletes in Tokyo and at the year’s championships in Hendon. In fact, 3 Hendon champions took their places in the Olympic team, Mary Hodson, Linda Knowles (already a senior European medallist), and Sheila Parkin, the latter securing a place in the long jump final.
The winners of the first ESAA steeplechase titles were further inspired by Maurice Herriott’s silver medal in Tokyo.
The importance of trying a variety of events had been emphasised at ESAA coaching courses and the value of this approach was borne out by the achievements of ESAA triple jump champion John Cooper, who won Olympic silver medals in the 400m hurdles and 4 x 400m relay, as well as the golden girls, Packer and Rand.
Ann Packer’s fiancé, Robbie Brightwell, twice a schools’ champion, finished a frustrated 4th in the 400m final but was one of a cohort of ESAA champions who made up three-quarters of medal-winning relay squads.
At the Hendon championships, the next generation of athletes would make their mark in a variety of different fields and field events. On the hammer podium were future Commonwealth medallist, Barry Williams, and Paul Dickenson, whose words as coach and commentator would inspire many future competitors.
Packing a punch with victory in the junior discus was Joe Bugner, later an opponent of Muhammed Ali. The bronze medallist in the junior javelin, Bill Tancred, would become better known both in the discus and as a professor of sports studies. 880 yard champion, Dave Cropper, would become a senior international and influential administrator.