It was great to see six of the best young talented athletes in the club competing at the UK senior trials over the period Friday 29th to Sunday 31st July 2011 at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. Those of you who watched it on TV will have seen Steve Mitchell and Emily Diamond competing in their respective finals – whilst others made finals but not the TV coverage.
In the men’s 1,500 metres David Bishop (age 24) exited in the heats but Steve Mitchell (23) with a fine second place in 3:44.41 qualified for the final where he gave 100% in what unusually for a championship was a true run race as Nick McCormick opened with a 56.38 second first lap. Steve realised to have any chance of a good finishing position he needed to go with the pace and was in a group of Nick McCormick and James Shane who broke clear of the field. Although the pace dropped a little on the second lap the leaders went through in a quick 1:55.48 and Steve not only hung on but was also challenging Nick McCormick at one stage as James Shane made a decisive move. Andy Baddeley made his usual late run but was too late to make any impact on James Shane who continued his stunning season. Steve hung on gamely for fourth place just outside his PB with a clocking of 3:42.38 – a couple of mentions in the commentary didn’t really do justice to a real breakthrough in terms of performance if not time and another new PB is surely just a matter of getting into the right race.
Charlie Maclean (19) also performed well to take tenth place in the Men’s 3,000 metres steeplechase in 9:17.62 – the time was well short of Charlie’s PB (8:56.39) but the experience of racing at this level in a UK Senior Championships will prove invaluable.
Emily Diamond (20) was the club’s other track finalist and Emily already has competition experience at the highest level in the junior age groups but has had her transition to the senior ranks hampered by injury. Nevertheless, she finished third in her semi-final in 23.88 behind Abi Oyepitan (23.38) and later on the Sunday afternoon Emily finished sixth in the final in 23:91 and a few races will no doubt see her back in PB shape (23.41).
In the Men’s sprints Scott Bajere (19) finished sixth in his heat in 10:82 (just outside his 10.79 PB – 10:74 would have got him a semi-final slot) but he would surely have enjoyed rubbing shoulders with the very broad shoulders of Harry Aikines Aryeetey.
Last but by no means least Lucy Bryan (16) finished eighth in the Women’s pole vault with a 3 metres 81 centimetre clearance (her first time in a major Senior competition). A PB of 4.10 would have seen her finish fifth but again it is great to see one of the club’s young stars performing so well in the senior ranks.
With an average age of 20 these six athletes show that there is an exceptionally talented crop of young athletes in the club and with others such as Hayley Pitman and Leon Reid also competing at a very high level the club has a lot to be optimistic about for the future.