FITZWIMARC School’s Michael Shields had the most nervous two minutes wait of his life after his intermediate boys 100m hurdles final.
The 15-year-old finished on exactly the same time of 13.25s as his rival Ethan Akanni as they crossed the line in Birmingham. The pair waited anxiously track-side to hear who had been given the gold, with the timekeepers taking the result back to thousandths of a second.
But in the end Shields, who had not led for the entire race until the 100th metre, was awarded the win.
“I felt so nervous waiting,” said Shields. “It wasn’t that long a wait, probably only a few minutes but it felt like a long time!”
Shields said he went into the championships just hoping to make the final, but his expectations changed after he won his heat.
“I thought I could win a medal after that, but I didn’t expect to win,” said Shields, who suffered disappointment at his first English Schools a year ago when he struggled with an injured hamstring and did not make it out of his heat.
Shields’ reward for his stunning performance is his first England vest as he will be representing his country at the Schools International in Cardiff tomorrow. “I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s going to be amazing.”
Beyond that, the Basildon AC athlete, who is also a rugby player for Rochford, has a decision to make about his future. “I’m not thinking about it at the moment,” said Shields. “But I will have to choose one sport soon!”