After a short breather our Track & Field athletes have been out in force on the ‘Indoor’ scene. It proved an early opportunity for them to test their winter progress away from the harsh weather that we have been experiencing recently.
Last week saw the first sightings of our young athletes at the WSE&H Winter Series at Eton. Yemma SONGU (Under-17) emerged from a longish period of injury to post respectable 60m sprint times of 8.21 & 8.35 and proved that she is back in the sprint business. Samantha BARRETT and Nikki FORTUNE (both Under-15) set out to demonstrate the fine progress that they have been making in training at their specialist event, sprint hurdles, and both achieved PBs. Sam, a second year, posted very fast 60metre hurdle times of 10.35 & 10.43 whilst Nikki, a first year, proved that the step up to the higher hurdles was not too difficult as she achieved the illusive 3 strides in competition for the first time being rewarded with a PB of 10.81. Both girls also contested the 60 metre sprints running 8.76 & 8.99 seconds respectively.
An interesting recognition came in this week’s Athletics Weekly. Our International Veteran Track Champion Caroline POWELL came sixth in the end of year voting for British Veteran Athlete. Well done Carol. Top Veteran Athlete was in fact B&W International Life Member Jo PAVEY who amongst other things excelled at the Olympics.
Cardiff hosted the first big indoor meeting of the year holding the UWIC Grand Prix. Novelty of the day was whilst the athletes performed in a serious mode the esteemed Officials were dressed in Santa Outfits showing that they can be human as well.
B&W were out in force with 21 athletes competing over all events. Some were admittedly in their University colours but so what.
The much anticipated ‘race of the day’ for B&W enthusiasts was the Senior Men’s 60 metres where old hand Greg SMITH lined up against young stag Chris STONE. Both had dominated their heats and this was the big one. Greg looked tall and dominating against a strong looking Chris. The race was close across the field of 8 with Greg forcing himself to the front from the start and Chris gradually emerging from the following pack. The result was close with Greg getting the verdict in 7.02 (so close to the illusive 6.9 barrier) and Chris very close behind in second place in 7.08 seconds. It was an epic race for so early in the season. Each moved into 5th & 7th place respectively in the 2012 SW rankings. Many of our emerging sprinters contested the heats and for the record all of their times were : Greg SMITH – 7.08; Chris STONE – 7.13; Oliver JEFFERIES – 7.35; Jamie LUKINS – 7.37; Joe HENDERSON – 7.52; Joe THORNTON – 7.53; Will HARTLEY – 7.57; Steven LEONARD – 7.69; Omar ALAMI – 7.76; Khan FAGAN – 7.84; Steven BEST – 7.99; Matty LATIBEAUDIERE – 8.04; Alex CHUGG – 8.08; Antonio RUSSO – 8.33.
Prior to the 60 metres Final Chris STONE, with his eyes for the future at 400 metres, survived a battling 300 metres race to take the fastest time of the day with 36.43 (& take the Christmas Pudding prize). Chris was closely followed by Joe THORNTON (36.85) and Matt HARRIS (37.55). Other times were Steven BEST (40.75), Matty LATIBEAUDIERE (41.97) & Antonio RUSSO (43.21).
Over on the Women’s side Anicia SKEATS showed that concentration on Sprints in training has revealed some outstanding talent in this athlete previously known for her multi event skills. Anicia (still only an Under-17) reached the Senior 60 metres final to come fourth in 8.09 behind GB International Katherine ENDACOTT. Anicia actually bettered this time with an 8.07 clocking in the heat for third under-17 in the SW 2012 rankings. In between she had a very impressive 300 metre win in 42.87 which placed her fourth under-17 in the SW Indoor rankings. This girl is really blossoming.
In the 600’s Matt HARRIS was seeded in Joe THOMAS’s record breaking (Welsh All Comers) run coming fifth in 1:24.81. John BRIERLY went on to better this with 1:24.38 in the following race and newcomer to Whitehall Angus LAMBERT clocked a winning 1:27.12 in a later race.
In the 3,000 metres our distinguished Women Steeplechasers Diana KENNEDY & Charlotte GREEN performed excellently. As friends they ran together for a few laps until Charlotte was comfortable on the boards (it was her first time) and then Dianna set off to close the gap on the leader which she looked to be achieving until she hit a rocky patch in the race and settled her tempo. Charlotte continued with consistent laps slipping slightly from 43 seconds to 46 seconds over the 15 laps. Both finished with very respectable times Diana at 10:38.88 and Char at 11:03.05 (a PB).
Hurdlers were out in force with Will HARTLEY running 8.77 for 3rd in the Combined Events competition and Oliver JEFFERIES just pipping Josh GILBERT (2nd & 3rd) in 8.58 and 8.72 secs. Each of these performances get these athletes around the UK top 50 for the year (3rd, 5th & 6th in the South West) – Very competitive eh? It is a long time since Bristol could boast such an outstanding group of hurdlers doing such excellent times. Don’t forget we also have Yannick BUDD (our Club Record Holder), John BRIERLEY and Scott DAVIE up our sleeve as well.
For me the most satisfying performance of the day was from Rebecca COURTENAY who after a long period of trying finally broke through to achieve 3 strides between the hurdles in competition for the first time. Her time was 9.95 seconds placing her 8th on the South West ranking list. Remembering that Rebecca has been a big points scorer for the Club on 4 strides we will surely see a massive step forward with her winning races confidently in 2013. Well done Rebecca. She went on to compete in the Combined Events contest to finish 6th with 1,465 points having also Long Jumped 4.58metres and thrown the Shot 6.37metres.
One of our latest recruits Elise GANTLETT (U20) performed well in the Pole Vault clearing 3.20metres. Elise’s PB outdoors is 3.25metres so this was a good competition mark for her. Welcome to B&W Elise.
In the Men’s Pole Vault we can’t pass without commenting that past Member Cameron WALKER-SHEPHERD achieved two outstanding PBs on the way to winning the event with a vault of 5.20 metre. Luke BAILEY had to be happy with a consistent 4.00 metres to take second place after missing the next height to go for and fail closely at a very good height of 4.20metres.
I have mentioned Higher Competition Member Will HARTLEY previously in the hurdles and sprint which were part of his 4 events Combined Events competition. Will went on to score 2,489 points for sixth place with marks of High Jump – 1.77metres and Shot – 8.54metres to add to those performances.
So we soon move into a New Year of competition in which we wish our many athletes good success. The next big Indoor meeting is the South West Junior Champs at Cardiff on January 6th followed by the Senior Champs on Jan 13th.
In case you are not clear you can only enter one Area Champs in any year but the South West is not an Area it is a Territory. So you can do both. Also on the same day is the British Milers Club Indoor meet for those who fancy a trip to Sheffield.
Mike Strange 9 December 2012