Athletics Weekly - - Contents -

One-lap run­ner Ge­orge Sud­d­er­ick pro­filed

NOT for noth­ing is Ge­orge Sud­d­er­ick known as ‘Golden Boy’ at Wal­ton Ath­let­ics Club.

He has col­lected many medals of that colour, it’s true, but the 15-year-old from Staines could boast of much more than pock­et­ing prizes.

This boy never boasts how­ever. He prefers to let his ac­tions do the talk­ing – and they have seen him win Eng­land cham­pi­onships, var­i­ous county ti­tles and the English Schools.

Ge­orge is a record breaker, too. Over 300m in­doors he is the UK all-time No.1 in the un­der-15 age group (No.2 out­doors to English Schools cham­pion Amir Sul­tan-Ed­wards) and when ear­lier run­ning the same dis­tance he set a Euro­pean aged 13 best.

Only once has Ge­orge run 400m, when go­ing sec­ond on the 2018 UK rank­ings (again be­hind Sul­tan-Ed­wards), but sig­nif­i­cantly it will be his prin­ci­pal dis­tance when he moves to the un­der-17 age-group next year.

To make a mark over one lap, Ge­orge in­tends to in­crease his train­ing. Up to now he has got by on just two ses­sions per week, but un­der coach An­drew Ken­nard the work­load will dou­ble.

It means cer­tain sac­ri­fices have to be made. One in par­tic­u­lar is giv­ing up on foot­ball. Con­sid­er­ing he has al­ready turned down a con­tract of­fer from Crys­tal Palace FC, his sin­gle mind­ed­ness can­not be in doubt.

Sur­rey-born Ge­orge first came to An­drew’s at­ten­tion when win­ning a district schools match. “I re­mem­ber say­ing ‘who is that boy?’” says the coach.

Once An­drew had the an­swer, he per­suaded Ge­orge to join his group at Wal­ton and it was soon clear a star was in the mak­ing.

He did not lose a race in his first sea­son and would win nine cham­pi­onships dur­ing the next! One of these was the English Schools 300m when, watched by a proud and some­what ner­vous fam­ily, he held off Kris­tian Samwell-Nash of Ash­ford to claim the cov­eted ti­tle.

Later at the same meet­ing Ge­orge col­lected an­other gold, when help­ing Sur­rey Schools to vic­tory in the 4x100m.

Such ex­ploits rightly earn re­wards and Ge­orge has spon­sor­ship from Every­one Ac­tive Leisure Cen­tre Group. They have a branch close to Staines but in fact the teenager has free ac­cess to any of their gyms. “They have also given me £500 to help with my train­ing needs,” he adds.

The lo­cal coun­cil (Spelthorne) are also fully aware of Ge­orge’s ta­lent as last year they named him young sports per­son­al­ity of the year.

A fur­ther hon­our Ge­orge hopes for is an Eng­land vest. He has sights on wear­ing one at next sum­mer’s SIAB In­ter­na­tional.

An­drew calls his ath­lete “hum­ble, de­ter­mined and ded­i­cated” and adds: “At the end of the day it’s about him en­joy­ing the sport and be­ing the best he can.”

But praise for Ge­orge is not lim­ited to those at Wal­ton. A ri­val club once gave him an­other ep­i­thet, call­ing him ‘white light­ning’.

Ge­orge Sud­d­er­ick (438): emerg­ing as a fine prospect in the in­di­vid­ual 400m and, be­low, as a re­lay run­ner

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