On the weekend of 16th/17th June 2012 Bedford International Arena lived up to its reputation for being a windy venue as it played host to the England Under-20 and Under-23 Championships. As it was a championship there were lots of tactical middle and long distance races. The sprinters and jumpers found the conditions beneficial on occasions when they had a following wind and the wind wasn’t gusting above the legal limit. The high jumpers and pole vaulters faced very difficult conditions with the field judges having to keep the bar in place in the high jump.
There was a good club representation in the sprints and middle distances with just one club member in field events. Some of our sprinters do seem to need more practice starting as no fewer than three were disqualified.
Bethan Wakefield finished third in the semi-final of the Under-20 100 metres in 12.15 just missing out on the final having finished third in her heat earlier in the day in 11.97. Had Bethan been able to repeat that time in the semi she would have made the final.
In the under-20 Men’s 100 metres Leon Reid ran 10.88 for second in his heat before being disqualified for a false start in his semi-final. Elliott Prendergast was also disqualified in his heat. Kwame Fordwor seems to have mastered the art of starting finishing second in his heat in 10.81, third in his semi-final in 10.77 before finishing eighth in the final in 10.91. In the Under-23 100 metres Scott Bajere finished second in his heat in 10.72 before becoming the third of our disqualified trio when false starting in his semi-final.
In the field on the first day Christina Jones threw 52 metres 10 centimetres for fifth place in the Under-23 Women’s Hammer.
One disappointment throughout the event was the size of the fields in most of the disciplines. Early on the first day the Under-20 Women’s 1,500 metres was a straight final and Olivia Sadler was involved in a very tactical race. Jessica Judd (winner in 4:29.14) took the race on after a slow 800 metres and Olivia struggled initially to cover the big move but finished strongly to take sixth place in 4:37.02.
In the Under-23 Men’s race Dan Studley ran a very competent heat to qualify for the final in 3:55.38 in fourth place as four (plus four fastest losers) qualified for the final. In the Under-23 Men’s 800 metres Andrew Woods qualified for the final finishing second in 1:52.66 in his heat.
In the Men’s Under-20 5,000 metres Rhys Park finished seventh in 15:37.96.
Fortunately on the Sunday the wind had died down slightly but it was still reasonably strong. Theo Campbell was second in Heat 4 of the Under-23 Men’s 200 metres in 21.53 and then progressed to the final finishing fourth in his semi-final in 21.27 (which was faster than the second semi-final was won in). In the final Theo finished fifth in 21.68 to complete a good day’s competition. In the Under-20 Men’s 200 metres Leon Reid was eliminated in the heats finishing third in Heat 3 in 21.91.
The Under-23 Women’s 200 metres was a straight final and Emily Diamond was a comfortable winner in 23.60 with a +0.8 metres per second following wind – a good warm up for the UK Olympic Trials. Emily thus added another gold to her growing collection of championship medals.
Andrew Woods was another to warm up for the UK Olympic trials with a medal – in his case bronze – as he finished third in a competitive under-23 800 metres final – his time was 1:52.19 – and he took the scalp of England Senior 800 metre champion John Bird in the process.
In between these two medal winning performances Dan Studley finished a creditable eighth in the final of the Under-23 1,500 metres in a new PB of 3:51.72.
In the Under-23 Women’s 5,000 metres Hannah Alderson led throughout only to lose out in the last 400 metres as she came home second in 17.06.28 – no doubt she will be pleased to add an under-23 silver to her senior bronze over this distance.
Finally – but actually the first to appear on the track – Will Hartley clocked 57.68 for fifth place in his heat of the Under-23 400 metre hurdles.