Brighton & Hove Albion academy prospect and English Schools athletics champion faces 'decision' over future

Bailey Smith (centre) on top of the podium at the English Schools Championships
Bailey Smith (centre) on top of the podium at the English Schools Championships

Multi-talented sportsman Bailey Smith is a current English Schools champion.

But the promising athlete faces a decision at some stage in the future, having also signed a two-year contract with Brighton & Hove Albion under-15s.

The 14-year-old was the fastest qualifier heading into the ESAA 200m final in the national event held in Birmingham before claiming gold with a time of 22.56secs to top the UK rankings.

A Bohunt School pupil, Bailey eclipsed his previous personal best time over the distance by four seconds on his way to glory.

There was also a sense of redemption for the Worthing sportsman after exiting at the qualifying stage last year.

Bailey’s father, Jamie, said: “Bailey said he’d be happy with a bronze.

“None of us thought he would go and win the gold, but from the qualifiers he just blew us away.

“His time was the quickest time of all the qualifiers, so we thought he had a chance in the final.

“When you see some of the other races, there were a couple of other lads who slowed on the line, so you thought they had a little bit more to give.

“It wasn’t a guarantee, but we knew he had a good chance.”

As Bailey continues to excel as an athlete, he is also showing signs of promise as a footballer.

But dad Jamie admitted his son faces a choice as to which sport he solely pursues in the future.

“Bailey really started running competitively in 2015, but he’s always been quick,” added his father, Jamie.

“He’s been given a two-year contract with Brighton, so it’s kind of decision time for him.

“Bailey will have to make the decision whether he plays football or does the athletics because with Brighton it really ramps up.”

Currently top of the UK 200m rankings at his age and part of Brighton’s Academy set up, Bailey is showing signs of promise in both sports.

But whatever decision the 14-year-old does chose to make in the future, it will be with the full backing and support of family.

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