Once again it was a good weekend for Bristol & West athletes indoors as first Lucy BRYAN in Birmingham on Saturday and then a whole host of athletes in Cardiff on Sunday set personal bests.
Lucy BRYAN celebrated mixing with the likes of Holly Bleasdale again with first time clearances at 3 metres 81 centimetres and 3.96 before clearing a life-time best of 4.11 at the second attempt. Her next height, a challenging 4.26, saw her failing on three occasions but such is her progress that one wonders how long it will be before she is clearing such heights. Such was her performance that it was acknowledged on the BBC1 event commentary and her clearance at 4.11 was shown on National TV – well done Lucy.
Leon REID had the first and last word at the National Indoor Athletics Centre in Cardiff starting with a win in his heat of the 60 metres in 7.11 at the start of the meeting before finishing fourth in the final in 7.08 at the end of the meeting. He was joined in the heats by athletes from the Bristol Academy of Sport as well as athletes from UWE and Bristol University with the athletes from the two Universities seeking competition prior to the British Universities and Colleges Sport Championships in Sheffield this coming weekend. Benjamin LEE of Bristol Academy of Sport ran 7.87 with James Taylor (Bristol & West) and Steven WEST (Bristol University) both clocking 7.95 but in separate races.
In the Men’s 200 metres John BRIERLY of Bristol & West and Bristol University ran the fastest of the Bristol contingent clocking 24.48 for first place in Race 7. Stephen WILCOX of Bristol Academy of Sport ran 24.74 for third place in Race 9. Steven BEST of Bristol University ran 25.38 for third place in Race 3 and Oliver JEFFRIES of Bristol University had the misfortune to pull up with a hamstring injury in his race. Earlier in the Men’s 60 metres hurdles Oliver had clocked 8.8 seconds to finish runner-up.
In the Men’s 400 metres John BRIERLEY was again the fastest athlete from Bristol with a 52.44 clocking which saw him win the third race over the distance. Earlier James TAYLOR (Bristol & West – 55.85) and Joshua Ssali (UWE – 66.30) had finished third and fourth in the first race over the distance.
Having missed Andrew WOODS and Chris DODD (Bristol & West and Bristol University) racing in Birmingham the previous week over 800 metres coach Keith BRACKSTONE was keen to see them both in action this week. The first race in the 800 metres series saw Andrew WOODS racing Steve MITCHELL (Bristol & West and also coached by Keith) and it was a real contrast in race tactics as Steve MITCHELL blasted out a fast first 400 metres which saw him with a clear lead at the half way point. Andrew WOODS closed the gap slowly and when Steve dug in with 100 metres to go it looked as if his front running tactics would prevail but a final lunge for the line saw Andrew take the victory by .12 of a second: The clock stopping at 1:53.41 and 1:53.53 respectively – indoor PBs for both athletes.
In the second 800 metres Kristian STANLEY (Bristol & West and Bristol University) also ran a PB clocking 2:02.39 – always in the mix Kristian made a brave effort for the win but had to settle for second place.
In the 1,500 metres Chris DODD was looking to see if he could transfer last week’s good form over 800 metres to the longer middle distance race and the answer was yes. A fine pace-making job by Iuean THOMAS saw him on his way but with 700 metres to go Chris was well clear and the only question was by how much he would be under 4 minutes. The answer was by a lot – even without the pace-maker he gradually increased his pace on each lap to come home in 3:54.87 – a PB indoors or out – and a real break through.
The Men’s Pole Vault turned into something of a marathon lasting around 5 hours. Luke BAILEY (Bristol & West representing UWIC) cleared 4 metres 30 centimetres for fifth place. In fourteenth place George GILES of Bristol Academy of Sport seemed unphased at competing in a new event and was as happy as his coach Andrea LOCK with his 2 metre 80 centimetre clearance. Elsewhere in the field Benjamin LEE of Bristol Academy of Sport jumped 5 metres 23 centimetres for eighth position in the Men’s Long Jump.
For the first time in a while there was an absence of Bristol & West female sprinters present but our North Somerset AC associate Anicia SKEATES ran 8.67 for fourth place in Race 2 (and later ran 28.61 for fourth place in the women’s 200 metres), while Samieka MACK from Bristol Academy of Sport went slightly faster (8.65) when finishing fifth in Race 5. Samieka then went on to record 29.41 for third place in the fourth women’s 200 metre race.
In the Women’s 800 metres Aoife Kelly (Bristol University) chased the leading trio hard before finishing fourth in 2:17.06 not far outside her outdoor PB. In the women’s 1,500 metres Abi Johnston of Bristol Academy of Sport won in 5:47.23 but will have been disappointed not to have had more opposition. Abi also competed in the 200 metres clocking 32.06 for fourth place in Race 5.
Finally, Audrey LAILHEUGUE of Bristol University jumped 4 metres 71 centimetres for eighth place in the Women’s long jump.
There were several university athletes getting a final race in before their championships and it will be interesting to see how club athletes perform next week in Sheffield when others from Universities around the country such as Yannick BUDD, Ding YANG and Emily DIAMOND may well join the mix.
Keith Brackstone Reports.