Track & Field Bulletin – 5th February 2013

Following outstanding runs at the Welsh Championships last week-end sprinter Bethan WAKEFIELD gained selection for a Welsh Athletics trip to Austria.  In her first race the Vienna Indoor Classic on Tuesday she ran a PB of 7.81 to win her heat and then equalled the Club under-20 60 metre record with a 7.80 that gained her third place in the ‘B’ final.  The Welsh Athletics web site says “arguably the performance of the day came from Bethan Wakefield “.  This magnificent run equals the Club Record set in 1968 at RAF Cosford by GB International Pauline ATTWOOD.  Pauline was a formidable runner which says great things for Bethan’s performance. 

Later in the week Bethan ran in Linz in the Girgl Indoor Meet where she was just slightly slower with 7.83 which on this occasion was not quite good enough for the final – but what an experience the week has been for Bethan!

The big news from the ‘Skeleton’ World Championships in St Moritz is not that Britain’s Shelly Rudman won the first ever British Gold Medal but that GB International Sprinter and Life Member of B&W Katharine EUSTACE came 10th for her adopted country New Zealand.  The Pat SWINBANK coached 400m runner competed for GB at 400m in the World Junior Championships some years back before departing the UK to seek her fortune.  Katharine who hails from Backwell and was educated at BGS was the oldest competitor in St Moritz and climbed through the field to 8th on her second and third runs before slipping back to tenth on her final run.  Katharine intends to keep hammering away at Skeleton until the Winter Olympics next year.  Skeleton is covered very well on Eurosport 2 if you have it? 

In the USA this week we have news that Olivia SADLER produced a 4 second improvement to her 800 metre time with a 2:09 clocking whilst competing in a 4×800 metre relay for her University.  We look forward to even bigger things now from you Olivia.

This weekend saw the first major competitions at Birmingham NIA with 2 days of the Birmingham Games plus high level meets at Lee Valley, Cardiff and Eton.

At Eton a handful of sprinters and hurdlers intended to travel but only two materialised.  Samantha BARRETT produced an exceptional improvement and reduced her 60 metre personal best to 8.57 and her 60 metre hurdles PB to 10.08 then 9.95.  That hurdles PB takes the Club Record below 10 seconds for the first time and prepares Sam well for the EA Champs in a couple of weeks time.  Equally Nikki FORTUNE will be going to those Championships and she consolidated her times with very respectable 10.71 and 10.66 clockings.  Nikki who is working hard on her flat speed also achieved a solid 60 metre sprint time of 8.94 seconds.

At Birmingham amongst many outstanding B&W runs was one performance that shone through.  Omar SIMPSON broke the great 400 metre Club Record with a brilliant 48.22 in his heat and followed up with 48.57 for third place in the ‘B’ Final.  The previous record 48.45 had been set in Madrid in 1975 by the great 400 metre hurdler Colin O’NEILL and had hitherto looked unbeatable.  That was a fine pair of runs Omar – keep it up for the summer season.   Your talent is as yet untapped Omar.  

I talked about Greg SMITH’s quest to break the 7 second barrier in previous bulletins well this week he succeeded.  In a star studded heat Greg made his mark with a magnificent 6.94 clocking followed by 6.99 in the Semi-Final.  Well done again to Lloyd RICE for guiding Greg and I apologise for misquoting his Club Record last week – it is in fact 6.75 seconds.

Chris STONE, still an under-20 was impressive over the whole range of sprints and achieved PBs at the two longer distances:- 60 metres – 7.09, 200 metres – 22.41PB and 400 metres – 50.37 PB.  In the 60 metres Chris got the better of Leon REID who tailed off after a bad start but it was a good scalp for Chris to take.

I have in the past noted the range that under-17 Anicia SKEATES competes at and she again was to the fore at 60 metres, 200 metres, 60 metre hurdles and Long Jump.  Her times/ distance of 8.05, 26.65, 9.46 & 4.87 metres, were all at the fore-front of the field and I believe were PBs at 200 metres and 60 metre hurdles.  What a pity Anicia is just too young to compete in the UKWALg in 2013.

It was good to see our other top under-17 sprinter Yemma SONGU in attendance and quickly recovering from a fractured foot that she sustained in competition at Cardiff.  Take it steady Yemma – coming back after that type of injury takes time and patience.

Caroline POWELL was well pleased with her 60 metre / 400 metre double of 9.04 and 63.38 but what cruel seeding when you think she was against Christina OHURUOGU and Eilidh CHILD in those respective races.  What chance has a V55 lady got at that level of competition?

Under-15 Tomas GOODMAN continues to make fine progress and improved his PB to 53.22 for 400 metres – it was also good to record a fine time at 200 metres by his (& Chris’ & Anicia’s) Coach Alastair ABRAMS at 23.55 seconds.   Just like the old days Al?

Other notable performances were Jamie LUKINS 60 metres – 7.30 and 200 metres – 23.70, Kinnie SONGU under-15 60 metres– 8.46 and 200 metres – 28.83, Ella FALK under-15 200 metres – 27.68, Matty LATTIBEAUDIERE 60 metres – 7.99, Anthony MATTIS 200 metres – 24.45, Debo ADEMUYEWO (2nd claim) 400 metres – 50.54, Dave BROWN (Nene Valley) (remember him?) 400 metres – 52.99 and Evie GROGAN (HCC) High Jump – 1.69 metres.   Yate or not we can’t close without noting brilliant sprinting performances from Emily WRIGHT under-17 who was in a class of her own in the sprints with times of 7.76 (60 metres) & 24.72 (200 metres).  Although Emily is now Coached by Dave LEASE please remember that until a short time ago Dean GARRETT was guiding her! 

At Cardiff on Sunday in the UWIC Grand Prix/ Welsh Masters event we also had excellent B&W performances.

Oliver JEFFERIES kept his starting under control and produced a fine PB for 60 m hurdles of 8.53 seconds.  Will HARTLEY knocked a couple of hurdles and was disappointed with his 8.96 clocking and went on to record a PB of 2:00.59 in the 800 metres.

Caspar ELIOT who has been performing more recently at Lee Valley (3rd in the South of England Champs) won his 400 metres by a mile in 50.08 to just miss his best.  Joe THORNTON was well pleased as he executed a very good 200 metres in 23.29 before recording an indoor PB in the 400 metres in 50.38.

Steve MITCHELL took the ‘A’ 800metres out with Matt HARRIS close up in his wake.  Matt faded a little to finish sixth in 2:00.12 whilst Steve desperately fought with John Morgan of Newport for the lead.  The task was just too much in the end and Steve looking for speed before the EA Champs finished with a respectable 1:55.07 in second place.

In the South West Champs Alex FIELDS ran away from the field and clocked 2:07.52 following his 400 metres gold medal performance of two weeks ago.  I had the pleasure of presenting Alex with his medals after the match.  Alex also won his heat to clock 24.15 in the 200 metres.

Luke BAILEY recovered something like his expected form when clearing 4.10m for fourth in the Pole Vault.  It is good to see Luke achieving higher vaults like this after some indifferent form recently.  I suppose Mum & Dad watching was a good incentive to do better.     

Steve BEST ran 25.71 in the 200 metres and Whitehall Academy Coach Alex DALEY (under-20) ran 7.77 and Matty LATIBEAUDIERE 7.92 in the 60 metres.  I think this could have been a PB time for all of them.

In the ‘Masters’ section Martin DAVIES followed up on his Silver Medal recently in the High Jump with a splendid Gold in his speciality event – Pole Vault.  Martin cleared 3.00 metres with his usual squirm and squeeze method of vaulting and was wildly clapped by his supporters and son Ethan

One really heartening observation on the day was the mini-bus full of athletes from the SGS Bristol Academy of Sport.  They competed well in a wide range of events.  Well done to Andrea LOCK who coaches the youngsters, entered them for their events and drove the Mini-bus to Cardiff.  You are doing an invaluable job Andrea, we are all proud of your success.

Mike Strange – 5 Feb 2013