FOLLOWING on from our athletes of the year for 2015, we thought we would have a look at other city stars who could be making headlines in 2016.
This year all focus will be on Rio and the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
From our list of athletes of the year (FULL LIST HERE), Ruta Meilutyte will be hoping to defend her Olympic 100m breaststroke title in Rio this summer, while Tonia Couch, Sarah Barrow, Tom Daley and Ben Proud will all definitely be hoping to be in South America representing Great Britain and pushing for medals. Track internationals David King and James Arnott could also be knocking on the door for selection for the Olympics and Paralympics if they have good seasons.
For the divers, the FINA World Cup this February in Brazil is their first priority, as Olympic quota places are up for grabs. The divers and swimmers also have a home European Championships to look forward to before Rio, while King will also have his eyes on the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam at the start of July.
Promising youngsters from our end of year list, like Kerenza Bryson, Will Battershill, Travis Bramley, Tom Fannon and Laura Stephens and will be looking to continue their improvements and claim further honours in 2016.
But here are some other athletes who did not make our New Year’s Eve list who you should look out for in the next 12 months.
The 19-year-old Plymouth Diving star has missed the best part of two seasons due to injury, but is now fully fit and, if things go his way, could be on his way to the Rio Olympics. Goodfellow competed at the 2013 World and European Championships and at the start of 2014 won a World Series synchro bronze with Matty Lee, but then injury ended his season and he had to pull out of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He has worked hard to get back to full fitness and has joined the rest of the Great Britain divers at their recent training camps in Florida and Australia, where they have been practising diving outdoors for Rio. Goodfellow has also been synchro training with Tom Daley.
VINCENT is another Plymouth diver returning from injury. She made her name by winning the platform event at British Senior Championships at just 13 years old in 2014 and competing at the Commonwealth Games at the same age. However, towards the end of 2014, Vincent suffered a detached retina in her eye. She did return to action at the end of last season and competed at the European Junior Championships in Russia and won the Luton Challenge event at the end of November. Vincent will be hoping to get back to her best in 2016 and put pressure on the likes of Tonia Couch, Sarah Barrow and fellow teenager Lois Toulson, who had a storming 2015.
JAMES competed at the London Olympics and won a silver medal in the 100m butterfly at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and was a European Championship finalist that same year. However, the last few years, James has been battling injuries, but he showed his form in the second half of 2015 and finished the year at the top of the British rankings for the 100m butterfly event with a hot 52.20 seconds on his way to winning gold at the British Summer Swimming Championships. He also won the BUCS short course title in 2015 and will be hoping to push his claims for Rio in the next couple of months.
YOUNG Dailley is another special talent coming through the successful Plymouth Leander/Plymouth College swimming programme. He and team-mate Oscar Brain dominated the 13/14 age group in 2015. Dailley won a staggering five gold medals at the British Summer Championships, plus two silvers and three bronze medals. He ended 2015 by breaking three unofficial age group short course butterfly records (British Swimming just keep rankings not records for short course events at age group level) at the National Winter Meet in Sheffield.
PLYMOUTH is not short of aquatic stars thanks to the Life Centre and programmes at Plymouth Leander, Plymouth Diving, Plymouth College and the two universities. England is another swimmer who produced some eye-catching performances in 2015 who will be hoping to progress her career even further in 2016. The 15-year-old broke the British 50m freestyle short course record twice in 2015 and won the British junior 50m freestyle final in London.
PLYMOUTH-born rugby player Gill is closing in on a full England cap. The former Plymouth Albion Ladies lock has captained England Under-20s and recently played for the England National Academy side against Canada. She was one of only two non-capped players named in the England Women’s Elite Squad for the 2015/16 season.
THE taekwondo star won a World Junior bronze medal in 2014, but found life tougher in 2015 moving up to under-21 and senior level. Bradley showed her potential by winning a bronze at the Spanish Open at senior level last year and she was also selected to represent Great Britain at the recent European Under-21 Championships. Bradley will turn 19 later this month and will be hoping to make even more of a breakthrough at the higher level in 2016.
Athletes who featured on our two lists have all either enjoyed international success or have claimed multiple national titles or records. There were a number of other athletes in the region who won national titles or medals in 2015 and were ranked in the UK’s 10 top, particularly in swimming, diving and athletics. Hopefully, we will be mentioning them a lot in the coming 12 months as well. It does show the standard of talent in the region that we have had to set the bar so incredibly high for inclusion.