What a weekend for Bristol & West AC where we had 5 finalists (plus a B finalist) at the UK Indoor Champs plus 10 medalists including a World age best at the Midland Indoor Champs. Add to this Rich PETERS smashed his 1 Mile Club Record with a brilliant 3:57.83 indoor win in Boston. Richard now must be a real prospect for an Olympic selection if he can remain injury free up to the ‘Olympic Trials’.
The UK Champs and European Trials were held at Sheffield and Bristol & West excelled. Emily DIAMOND in her third ever 400 metre competition ran 3 rounds for the first time and emerged with fifth place (exactly the same time as fourth place 54.24) to fully consolidate her place in the top flight of 400 metre runners in the UK. Emily ran a very solid and sensible race with good tactics (as I am sure you all followed on TV) to emerge with a real chance of relay selection for the European Indoor Champs in Turkey.
17 years old Lucy BRYAN was competing amongst the top flight for the first time after a period of consolidation with her new Coach Charles Preston and emerged with a very creditable fifth place with a 3.90metre vault. This was also the height cleared by the fourth placer so Lucy also just failed to make the winner’s podium but consolidated her position in the UK’s top flight.
In the Men’s 1,500 metres after starting out with 3 contenders we lost Mike WILSMORE in the heats but enjoyed the sight of Steve MITCHELL and Dave BISHOP in the final. Both runners followed the initial leader closely but at 800 metres Dave began to back off possibly due to the effects of his recent return flight from his USA base. Steve though kept right on the leaders shoulder and urged the pace on but with 300 metres to go 2 contenders sprinted ahead and Steve faded to a glorious fifth place in 3:48.72. Dave finished seventh in 3:51.07 with a heat time of 3:50.40.
Theo CAMPBELL received a late invitation to these Champs and would not be happy with his eighth place in the Triple Jump with 14.59 metres when he could have taken the Silver Medal with his two previous indoor performances. Nevertheless it is a great honour and recognition of status just to be invited to these elite Championships.
Yannick BUDD improved his PB (and Club Record) marginally to 8.13 to come fourth in his heat and push on to a place in the B final of the 60 metre hurdles. Again it is recognition for this ever improving athlete to mix with the elite.
Scott BAJERE also has that honour of high recognition to be invited to Sheffield but will be disappointed that he could not perform at his best with a 7.07 60 metre clocking.
During the past week horizontal jumper Ding YANG began his season with a first and second place in the Long Jump and Triple Jump (6.43 & 13.65) in the Inter Varsity Match at the Birmingham NIA. It is good to see you back Ding.
In the Midland Championships we had 18 finalists reaping 10 Medals. Pride of place goes to our Senior Men’s 800 metre runners where we had 3 finalists and took the Gold & Silver Medals through Andrew WOODS and Chris DODD. Their final times of 1:55.23 and 1:55.75 were outstanding and their domination of the final stages of the race was impressive. Martin FLOOK was a sound fourth in 1:58.43 and Andrew DEAN-YOUNG was very unlucky not to make the Final after a front running third in his heat in 1:58.78.
Sprinters were also to the fore as you would expect Indoors and the emergence of our women (after struggling with barely anyone to call on last summer) is now a repetitious theme in these blogs. Emma HEATH (our Winter Sports star) came out top with a 7.95 in her 60 metre heat to finish fourth in the Final. Hannah WILLIAMS was second in the Open Final with 8.19 and yet another new girl (hurdler) Rebecca COURTENAY took eighth in Emma’s final with 8.33. Hannah also won the Open 200 metres Final with 27.12. The emergence of our young female athletes is also heartening. Yemma SONGU (she only gets moving in the last 30 metres of a 60 metre race) ran an eye opening 8.08 to come fifth in her 60 metres final and sister Under-15 Kinnie ran 8.43 in her heat and came eighth in her final. Alyssa SMALL ran 8.45 in her heat. In the 200 metres V55 Caroline POWELL took fifth in the 200 metres Senior final with an encouraging 28.76 clocking but her claim to fame was a Bronze Medal and World Indoor Record of 63.73 in the 400 metres.
On the Men’s side we enjoyed a view of prospective new member Omar SIMPSON coming third in the 200 metres Senior final in 22.16 but our Under-20’s were the dominant people in their races. Leon REID took Silvers in both the 60 metres and 200 metres with 6.97 & 22.08 clockings closely followed by Chris STONE and Elliott PRENDERGAST. Chris took the Bronze medal in the 200 metres with an outstanding PB of 22.34 and he and Elliott took fifth and sixth places in the 60 metres with 7.16 (7.14 heat) and 7.18 in Leon’s final. Believe me it was an impressive display of red band vests. In the Under-15 section Jack DYER continues his rapid progress with a 24.07 PB for third in his heat.
In the field Hayley PITMAN jumped 1.60 metres to take the Silver medal in the High Jump but left before the prize giving as she was unwell. Get better soon Hayley. In the Long Jump Emma HEATH was in the Medal places until the final rounds but should be happy with her 5.30 metre PB for fourth place.
Nicola FORTUNE did well in the Under-13’s Quadrathlon tackling some new events and sampling the heady atmosphere of the big NIA for the first time. Nic took the award for fifteenth place (23 contestants) with 883 points made up of 60 metres – 9.21 (4th ht); Shot Putt – 5.97 (10th); Long Jump – 3.24 & High Jump 1.08. Nic infact hurt her leg in that final event the High Jump and was helped from the stadium floor by the First Aid people or she would have done a lot better. Well done Nicola.
Associate athletes Emily WRIGHT (Yate) and Anicia SKEATS (North Somerset) justify a mention with Emily taking 60 metre Silver in a PB of 8.12 and another second in the Long Jump with 5.11 metres. Anicia won the Under 17 Long Jump with a PB of 5.02 (thanks to Colin HICKEY and his Coaching). Then Anicia rushed from the Long Jump to do the 60 metre hurdles and here she looked a little tired after a sound start to clock 9.95 secs. Not so good for Coach Mike Strange but she had been Long Jumping for the previous hour? My excuses.
Finally, in Seattle former Bristol University athlete Imogen AINSWORTH continued her recent good form for the University of New Mexico finishing third in an Indoor 3,000 metres in 9.40.52 despite suffering from a stomach upset the day before the race which kept several of her team mates out of the competition. Apparently her race was on a flat 308 metre track – so in Indoor terms it is considered ‘over-sized’. As it eclipsed her fastest ever 3,000 metres you would expect her to be please but she emailed coach Keith Brackstone saying without the stomach upset she felt she would have won in a sub-9.35 clocking. She will be back in time for the last two Midland League races – so let’s hope she builds on this form.