European Championships: British stars to follow for Tokyo 2020

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter in Glasgow

Across 11 days of competition at the inaugural European Championships, British stars such as swimmer Adam Peaty and cyclist Laura Kenny reaffirmed their champion status.

However, with two years to go until the next Olympics it was the emergence of several younger athletes that provided cause for optimism.

Here BBC Sport looks at some of the athletes who helped Britain finish second in the overall medal table and who might become household names come Tokyo 2020.

Dina Asher-Smith (Athletics)

Dina Asher-Smith wins 200m gold
Dina Asher-Smith beat world champion Dafne Schippers to take the 200m

"She is absolutely now one of the best in the world," said four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson.

There is unlikely to be 'another Usain Bolt' in this generation, but at these championships Dina Asher- Smith showed she has the potential to be among a group of athletes who can usher in a new era for the sport.

Her stunning 100m and 200m successes in Berlin made her only the fourth woman in history to achieve the European sprint double while her time in the 200m - 21.89 seconds - was the fastest in the world this year.

Yes, she has won individual medals before - notably the European 200m title in 2016 as well as Commonwealth bronze earlier this year - and has achieved Olympic and World relay honours.

However, her British record times in both events will have shocked the sprint scene and British athletics now has the figurehead it has been seeking since the retirement of Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Other GB athletes to impress in Berlin included men's 100m champion Zharnel Hughes - who usually specialises in the 200m - and Matthew Hudson-Smith, who will hope his 400m title is a step towards fulfilling his undoubted potential.

Freya Anderson (Swimming)

She may be just 17, but with a towering frame of over 6ft 3in and four European relay medals in her possession, Anderson is no longer 'one for the future'.

Although those in the sport have known of her talent for some time, the world junior champion showed her ability to make an impact at senior level.

Holding off the charge of Russian male swimmer Vladimir Morozov in the 4x100m mixed medley relay and three further impressive last-leg performances in other relay events led to her being dubbed Freya 'Anchor-son'.

However, a fourth place in the 100m freestyle event also demonstrated her potential for individual honours in the years ahead.

With Adam Peaty dominating and Duncan Scott, Ben Proud, Max Litchfield and James Guy continuing to bring in medals for the GB men there have been questions about why the women's side has struggled to deliver such success.

Olympic silver medallist Siobhan Marie O'Connor is short of form and double Rio 2016 silver medallist Jazz Carlin has moved into open water events, but in Anderson Britain has a new female swimmer to be genuinely excited about.

Georgia Davies, Holly Hibbott and Imogen Clark are others to watch in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020 while Ben Proud's time of 21.11 in the 50m freestyle was the quickest ever achieved without the aid of the now banned 'super-suits'.

Lois Toulson and Eden Cheng (Diving)

Eden Chang Lois Toulson
Toulson and Cheng have made big improvements since forming their partnership

The pair only teamed up in May, live in Leeds (Toulson) and London (Cheng) respectively and had only competed together once before this event - but went on to claim a surprise gold in the synchronised 10m platform competition.

Toulson made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016 and although she could not defend her European crown this year the 18-year-old has made big improvements.

She was paired with Robin Birch for the Commonwealth Games in April - where they finished fifth - but such has been the progress of 15-year-old world junior champion Cheng that the new duo have been thrust together.

Cheng is coached by China's first-ever diving world champion Lin Chen and there is a growing confidence in British Diving that with two years of further development the pair could become GB's first female Olympic diving medallists since the 1960s.

Olympic synchronised 3m springboard champion Jack Laugher continues to look a major individual Olympic gold medal contender for Tokyo 2020 having won two titles in Edinburgh.

Scotland's Grace Reid - who trains with the soon-to-return Tom Daley in London - demonstrated her new-found belief with victory in the individual 3m springboard event.

Jack Carlin and Ethan Hayter (Track cycling)

Jack Carlin Ethan Hayter
Carlin and Hayter helped Britain finish second in the track cycling medal table in Glasgow

"He [Jack Carlin] has the chance of being one of the big stars in Tokyo," says Sir Chris Hoy.

High praise indeed from the retired six-time Olympic cycling champion, whose modesty probably prevented him from endorsing suggestions that Carlin could be the 'next Chris Hoy'.

He may have left Glasgow 2018 with just one bronze from the Keirin, but at the age of 21 and with a fourth in the sprint as well as a confident display in the team sprint, bigger things are predicted for the Scot.

He could challenge for three medals come Tokyo 2020 and so could his team-mate Ethan Hayter, who produced a series of stunning performances in the omnium to defeat Italian Olympic champion Elia Viviani and land his first major title.

The 19-year-old, who also claimed bronze medals in the madison and team pursuit events, has drawn comparisons with cycling royalty.

His former team-mate Ed Clancy said the teenager's performances - which helped Britain land team pursuit gold at the 2018 World Championships - were "the sort of thing we'd get out of [Sir] Bradley [Wiggins] at Rio".

Whether Carlin and Hayter are 'knights-in-waiting' ('the new Hoy and Wiggins') is impossible to answer at this stage, but the signs are certainly encouraging.

Kyle Evans and Kye Whyte (BMX)

Kyle Evans' gold and Kye Whyte's silver represented a stunning return for the pair, whose successes were their first major honours.

Evans, 24, was introduced to the sport when hiding from the police having been spotted speeding on motorbikes with his dad in Wigan.

They discovered a BMX track while 'laying low' and in the 10 years since the taster session that followed he has gone on to compete at the Rio Olympics and finish sixth at this year's World Championships.

Whyte is just 18 and like his brother Tre - who claimed World BMX bronze in 2014 - hails from a tough neighbourhood in Peckham, London.

He has endured his fair share of injuries with a broken collarbone and jaw, but also suffered a crash that saw him "knocked out for a week" with a bleed on the brain.

Now fully recovered, he and Evans could have the chance of succeeding where former world champion team-mates Shanaze Reade and Liam Phillips failed by securing Britain a first Olympic BMX medal in Tokyo.

Men's team gymnastics

Although Max Whitlock contributed heavily in the British men's silver medal-winning team final performance, for once he was not the one dominating the headlines.

The double Olympic champion endured a difficult championships as he failed to win an individual medal, but in his place Dom Cunningham (floor gold) and Courtney Tulloch (rings bronze) showed Britain have other contenders too.

Cunningham is 23 and enjoying the best year of his career after a vault bronze at the Commonwealth Games, while in Tulloch - who has two 'moves' named after himself - GB possesses a genuine Olympic gold-medal contender on the rings.

James Hall and 19-year-old Joe Fraser both reached individual finals as well and contributed significantly as the team finished behind Russia.

The British line-up can be further strengthened by the return of Olympic bronze medallist Nile Wilson as well as three-time Olympic medallist Louis Smith, meaning they could challenge for a first-ever Olympic team gold in Tokyo.

On the women's side Amelie Morgan claimed a British record five medals in the junior European championships - which ran alongside the senior event.

Many feel she and fellow 15-year-old Taeja James, who achieved the highest score in the competition on the floor during the senior team final, could help the GB women challenge for a team honour in Tokyo as well.


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