Seamus Derbyshire has previous form in the Sentinel/City of Stoke-on-Trent Sports Personality of the Year Awards – and he’s in contention once again.
Derbyshire, from Stockton Brook, was recognised in the Junior Individual category in 2018 after a stunning year which saw him claim a silver medal in the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas.
And the 400-metre hurdles specialist has built on that success in the Caribbean by ensuring that 2019 was another memorable year to put himself in the frame for more glory.
Derbyshire, who trains at City of Stoke Athletics Club, claimed another silver medal in a prestigious competition – this time the European Under-20s Championships.
Not only that, but he produced a personal best over the distance to secure his place on the podium.
The Loughborough University student clocked an impressive 50.86s on his way to second place behind Sweden’s Carl Bengtstrom, who cut the tape in 50.32s.
He blasted away for the first 200m and kept on accelerating as he closed on the line, earning Great Britain & Northern Ireland their first medal.
After the race, Derbyshire said: “I felt great and I got out hard which was what I needed to do and I knew coming into the home straight I had the kick and I could keep pushing on.
“I knew once I got over hurdle seven I was in a medal position and that a medal was mine.
“I felt so strong coming into the home straight and to finally break 51 seconds is an amazing feeling as well.
“Two years ago I won Commonwealth Youth Games silver and I knew that two years later, I wanted to do at least the same at the Europeans and to achieve that with a PB, I’m so happy with what I’ve done.
“I was so close to my PB in the semis and didn’t know how much more I had to give in the final, but as soon as I got on the start line, I knew I could PB again, I don’t know how it happened but it did.”
Derbyshire, who is studying human biology at university, had shown his class to ease in the final at the Championship in Boras, Sweden in July. He progressed through his heat which he won comfortably when easing off over the last 50m or 60m to go through the line in first place.
A similar race in the semi-final saw him push hard in the first half of the race and then control it from the front, eventually finishing in first place and securing his involvement in the final in a time of 51.30 seconds which was just outside his PB (51.24) at the time.
He saved his best for the final, though, as he pushed Bengtstrom all the way in a thrilling fight to the finish,
Derbyshire has now been nominated in the Senior Individual category at this year’s awards by his proud dad, Allan.
He said: “Everything that he had trained for over pretty much the previous two years had come together in that race and he himself was overjoyed.”