The question has already been asked of Alicia Barrett: is she ‘lightning in a bottle’?

If you answer this question in relation to her age group, the answer is unquestionably ‘yes’. She is the British Junior Champion for both indoor and outdoor hurdles.  She also trains under the guidance of Toni Minichiello, coach to one of Britain’s most successful and famous athletes ever, Jessica Ennis Hill. However, as Toni will happily remind anyone that asks, the transfer of junior to senior success is neither simple nor guaranteed. A lot of factors come into play; physical, mental, emotional, social groups, parenting…. The list goes on.

Central to any young athletes’ development is the relationship between the coach and athlete, a factor often overlooked by those responsible for pathway planning. Toni is clear on the subject,

As a coach you have an enormous responsibility for the person, not just the athlete.

“As a coach you have an enormous responsibility for the person, not just the athlete. This is never more true than working with young athletes and everything that goes with the transition from teenage years into adulthood. It’s my responsibility to keep my focus on the needs of the individual: in all aspects of their life. It’s about what’s right for them. Period”.

Apart from her searing pace over hurdles one of the things that sets Alicia apart is that she is a twin of Ella, another precociously talented runner. That they are both working with Toni, share a passion for history and a deep rooted love of cinema makes provides a fascinating for out conversation about the joys, trials and aspirations of being a young athlete.

Listen as Alicia talks training, the challenge of moving into the senior ranks and her favourite film (s).