Suffolk javelin ace Don Baker is off to the Bahamas with Team GB
PUBLISHED: 12:09 07 July 2017
Don Baker will go from hurling his javelin in a field on his family farm, to throwing the same javelin on the international stage in the Bahamas, when he competes at this month’s Commonwealth Youth Games.
The teenager, from Bentley, has been selected to compete for Great Britain following a fine early summer of competition.
Baker, a member of Ipswich Harriers, achieved the qualifying standard at the recent England Athletics Under-20/23 Championships, held at Bedford, and it has since been officially confirmed that he is in the GB squad bound for the Bahamas on July 16.
Baker threw a personal best of 66.45 metres at Bedford, on June 18, to easily satisfy the qualifying mark of 65 metres.
“I’m delighted to have been named in the squad, I’m thrilled and am proud to be representing my country,” enthused Baker, who is coached by David Hughes at Northgate.
“We started targeting it last year, when we knew that the Commonwealth Youth Games were taking place this year and with me throwing close to 60 metres last summer. We thought that 65 metres was very achievable. So I trained hard over the winter. I had only been throwing the javelin for three years, so I had lots of weaknesses to iron out.
“I threw 64 metres at Ipswich (64.19m in an East Anglian League meeting), which was ‘oh so close’ to the 65m mark! But it was at my last competition where I managed to get the mark, with my very first throw.”
Baker scooped a bronze medal at last year’s English Schools Championships, throwing a then-personal best of 58.30m to take third spot at Gateshead in the under-17 age group.
“I first picked up a javelin three years ago at school, in Year Seven at Holbrook School,” explained Baker.
“My PE teachers gave me as much coaching as they could and they suggested that I should go down to the local athletics club, at Ipswich Harriers.
“I train there on Tuesdays and Thursdays with David Hughes, who ironically also went to Holbrook School.
“I also throw at home. I live on a farm (at Bentley) and we have horse-fields where I can throw my javelin. The paddocks are not used, so whenever I feel like throwing, I can do it out the back. I’ve also linked up with Mike McNeill, at Bury. I don’t think I would have managed all this without his knowledge and advice”.
Baker is in action at the English Schools Championships in Birmingham, which take place today and tomorrow.