TWO south Essex athletes who shone at the English Schools Championships a week earlier have made their international debuts in Cardiff.

Michael Shields and Michelle Hughes both won gold medals at the English Schools Championships and were then selected by England to run against the other Home Nations in a schools international in Wales.

Basildon AC’s Shields, 15, won a bronze medal after finishing third in the 100m hurdles in 13.70s.

The rival who he beat by thousandths of a second at the English Schools Championships, Ethan Akanni, got the better of him this time round, finishing second in 13.64s with Ireland’s Jack Murphy winning in 13.55s.

Southend High School for Girls’ Hughes, 16, also could not get the better of an Irish athlete.

Hughes won a silver medal in 43.38s, marginally slower than her English Schools winning time but her second fastest ever clocking. She came from behind but just failed to catch Ireland's Amaris Borel (43.19s).

Hughes also won relay gold with England’s winning 4x300m quartet (Ella Barrett, Catherine Read & Devon Brimecome) and said afterward “It’s been an unforgettable weekend and I hope that I can enjoy the honour of representing my country again. It was nerve-racking but I think I performed well.”