Emma Raducanu’s remarkable US Open triumph reflected the latest and most improbable chapter in a breakthrough year for British sportswomen.
From Flushing Meadows to the Tokyo Olympics and Lord’s, these teenagers have grabbed the headlines and underscored not only their own potential, but that of their respective sports.
Here the PA news agency reflects on five of the fastest-rising stars who have emerged from the shadows to become inspirations for a new generation of talent.
Everything has already been said about Raducanu’s unbelievable rise to be crowned US Open champion at the age of just 18. The manner of her success will serve as a frequent reminder that in sport scarcely anything is impossible. Staying at such a lofty peak may prove tougher – but Raducanu’s performances at Flushing Meadows suggested she has what it takes to become a grand slam final fixture.
Jennifer & Jessica Gadirova
The 16-year-old gymnastics twins earned their Olympic berths after securing medals at the 2021 European Championships. And their subsequent, nerveless performances in Tokyo helped the Great Britain team – also comprising Alice Kinsella and Amelie Morgan – to a wholly unexpected bronze medal. Both Gadirovas also underlined their potential by qualifying for the women’s floor final.
Capsey was not even part of the original Oval Invincibles squad for this year’s inaugural Hundred. But handed her chance due to a series of withdrawals, Capsey – who turned 17 during the tournament – seized her chance, scoring a half-century on her debut at Lord’s, then playing an equally pivotal role on her second visit to the venue as her team sunk the Southern Brave to be crowned champions.
Even when the 19-year-old Hodgkinson won European indoor gold in March it seemed the Tokyo Olympics would come too soon. But Hodgkinson continued her amazing rise culminating in taking 800 metres silver in the Japanese capital, shattering Kelly Holmes’ long-held British record in the process. To cap a remarkable year, Hodgkinson went on to claim the 800m Diamond League title earlier this month.
The skateboarding sensation became Britain’s youngest Olympic medallist in Tokyo at the age of 13 years and 28 days when she won bronze in the women’s park competition. What was most remarkable about Brown’s success was the nerveless manner in she delivered her medal run, having faltered in each of her first two of three attempts at a sweltering Ariake Urban Park.
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