Teenage Kicks: Raducanu Joins Elite Group Of Top British Sporting Teens

Britain's new tennis superstar is part of an amazing history of teenage sporting achievement.
21:58, 13 Sep 2021

Emma Raducanu stunned the world with her incredible US Open final win in straight sets over Leylah Fernandez. The 18-year-old became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam, and incredibly did not lose a single set on her way to the title. In recognition of this unbelievable achievement, we look at other British sportspeople who achieved amazing feats in their teenage years.


Amir Khan


The Bolton Olympian was just 17 years of age when he travelled to the 2004 Games in Athens. The future ‘King’ Khan carried the hopes of a nation on his back, as the only member of the Team GB boxing team at the games. Amir captured the hearts of British fans as he bravely fought through to the final, while his energetic father Shah became an entertaining fixture in post-fight interviews. 

He would come unstuck against the legendary Cuban Mario Kindelan in the lightweight final, but a silver medal was a wonderful return for the teenager. After turning professional, Khan would add the WBA and IBF light-welterweight championships to his trophy case.


Michael Owen


The Liverpool striker was 18 years old, and coming off a breakthrough season, when he travelled to France for the 1998 World Cup. The Chester-born youngster had racked up 18 Premier League goals in a breakthrough campaign to earn his place on the plane. Owen netted one off the bench against Romania in a 2-1 loss, before starting the final group game, a win over Columbia.

The teenager retained his starting slot against Argentina in the first knockout round. The rest is history, as the Liverpool forward slalomed through the Argentine defence to score one of the most frequently-shown England goals of the television era. Evocative of Maradona’s legendary strike when these two teams met in 1986, Owen’s moment of magic solidified him as an emerging talent on the world stage.


Dina Asher-Smith


Before clinching her two Olympic Bronze medals, including one at Tokyo this past summer, Dina Asher-Smith was already making waves as a 19-year-old. The London sprinter became the first British woman to run the 100 metres in under 11 seconds, when she recorded a time of 10.99 seconds at the 2015 Anniversary Games. The following year, she would clinch her first Olympic Bronze, in the 400m relay, at Rio 2016 as well as a 200m Gold in the European Championships.


Ellie Simmonds


The legendary Paralympic swimmer won her first two Gold medals at Beijing 2008, when she was just 13 years of age. Simmonds scooped first place in the 100m S6 freestyle and 400m S6 freestyle events. Her incredible efforts saw her voted BBC Young Sports Personality Of The Year.

She was the poster-child of the London 2012 games four years later, when she was still only 17. She would clinch another brace of Gold medals at her home games, winning the 200m SM6 individual medley and the 400m S6 freestyle. Simmonds’ incredible medal haul during her teenage years would be enough to sustain most entire athletic careers, but the swimming superstar would claim another Gold at Rio 2016.


Sky Brown


Britain’s latest young Olympic sensation, 13-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown clinched Bronze in the women’s park event at Tokyo 2020. Brown became the youngest-ever GB medalist, and is also the youngest professional skateboarder in the world.

Sky recovered from a horrific fall in May 2020, where an accident on a halfpipe left her with skull fractures, a broken wrist and a broken hand. She recuperated to win not only her Olympic Bronze, but a Gold at the X Games in July.

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