Last week’s second issue of this blog spoke of the magnificent indoor 400 metre debut of Emily DIAMOND running 55.14 in Bratislava. This week we move on a notch with a 1 second improvement to 54.19 and next week at the UK Trials I am sure I will report Emily dipping into the 53’s to secure her place amongst our star UK 2012 athletes. At the NIA in the Birmingham Games Emily was drawn in the outside lane in her heat and this beautifully graceful athlete put her foot down immediately. She reached 200 metres in 25.38 and by then her lead was substantial. The final lap was a formality as Emily finished about 1 second in front of her nearest opponent to secure that wonderful time of 54.19. As with many athletes Emily was safely on her way home when the final was run due to horrendous weather conditions (snow) so we did not see how she would respond to two big races in one day. The UK Trials will be interesting.
Two other UK Trials athletes ran in the McCain Intercity Challenge at Sheffield. The vastly improved Mike WILSMORE came third in the 1,500 metres in 3:47.36 just behind GB International Anthony Whiteman so will feel confident when he lines up in the heats of the UK Trials with his two Bristol & West rivals Steve MITCHELL & David BISHOP at Sheffield.
Yannick BUDD was slightly disappointed that he had plateaued in his 60 metre hurdles with an 8.18 clocking at Sheffield but is still determined to break through into the 7.9s at the UK Trials. Yannick is a big boy to be running the short 60 metres indoors and a training emphasis to cut 1 stride to the first hurdle has caused some dilemma’s but he still hopes that it will all fall into place next week.
Back at Birmingham it was great to see Emma HEATH back in a Club vest and on this occasion she was long jumping. Emma of course now emphasises on Winter Sports but it was great to see her at the NIA. Her jump of 5.30m was best by a B&W athlete for some time and left her in seventh place. Please be available for some League matches this year Emma, we need you. In second place in the event was ex B&W athlete Amy WOODMAN who jumped 5.94 metres and must be a big contender in the UK Trials.
Our male 400 metre runners found themselves in some tough heats running against the cream of the UK. For instance Alex FIELDS ran a very respectable 51.71 but he ran behind UK / American Michael Bingham who destroyed the race with a 47.61 clocking to win by 2 clear seconds! What on earth you do against pace like that?
Caspar ELIOT fared a little better with a 50.35 clocking to finish third in another heat to demonstrate his value to our 400 metre ranks.
Hayley PITMAN just failed to get into the rostrum places finishing fourth in the High Jump but she won’t be completely happy with her clearance height of 1.64 when I know she is doing so much better in training. A big jump is just around the corner so just hang in there Hayley.
Sprinters were out in force at Birmingham with a fair few of our Bath-based flyers up against that fine developing Whitehall squad of Alastair ABRAMS. Under-23 Scott BAJERE was our leading exponent with 60 metre and 200 metre clockings of 6.93 and 22.14. In the Under-20 showdown Elliott PRENDERGAST got the better of Chris STONE 7.16 to 7.17 in a blanket finish but Chris did get left at the start. Leon REID came out top of Under-20 200 metre runners with 22.31 but I think Chris STONE gave him a nudge of recognition with his 22.51 clocking. Jack DYER was our Under-17 challenger with his 7.67 and 24.29 clockings and it was good for Jack to perform on such a prestigious stage where he was a little in awe of the surroundings.
In the women’s races Under-17 Yemma SONGU stood out with an 8.11 60 metres (best in the South West in 2012) and a fourth in the SW rankings 27.10 in the 200 metres. But Yemma you need to compete in both halves of a 200m. A leisurely first 100 metres followed by a scintillating second 100 metres wasn’t quite enough for you to win the race. You have great talent and added to a little confidence you will be a great sprinter. Yemma’s training partner Alyssa SMALL stepped up to 200 metres for the first time indoors with an excellent 27.99 clocking and Yemma’s sister Under-15 Kinnie clocked a solid 8.61 to come second in her 60 metre run.
Our associates (those who train at Whitehall but belong to other local clubs) also did well. Adam WALL (Yate), coached by new Grandmother Joy BRAY, came second in the High Jump with a great 2.01 clearance, Emily WRIGHT (Yate) coached by Dean GARRETT won her Under-15 60 metres in 8.18 seconds and Under-17 Anicia SKEATES clocked 8.37 for 60 metres followed by an impressive 200 metres win in 27.30 seconds.
At Cardiff on Sunday in the Welsh Champs Under-20 Matt LATTIBEAUDIERE improved on his run the previous day by 0.1 seconds with a semi-final run of 8.14 but the emergence of Andrea LOCK’s Filton squad was the revelation of the day. These athletes are poised to become B&W Members as they emerge from the Filton Academy environment and we will welcome them to our ranks. Stephen WILLCOX made the final of the Under-20s 60 metres with 7.72 and Ben LEE ran 7.81 after a sub 7.8 the week before. In the Women’s Under-20 sprints Franchesca XAVIER ran 8.68 and Samieka MACK ran 8.73. It was also great to see their Coach Andrea gaining some further experience on the big stage by Officiating as a track judge.
Over in the USA we had two notable performances, first Hollie KNIGHT ran 16:24.70 in an indoor 5km to finish second in Indiana and Emma REED opened her indoor season with a solid 2:20.84 800 metres in New Mexico.
So we look forward to next week-end where both the UK Trials and the Midland Champs are being held; not forgetting our New Mexico contingent competing indoors in Seattle. It should be a memorable weekend for quite a few athletes.