Twelve club members competed in the UK Athletics Championships which doubled as the UK World Trials. Generally entries were down on last year when the trails doubled as Olympic Trials and there were fewer club entries. The first event on Friday night was the men’s 100 metres which saw Scott BAJERE and Greg SMITH in action. Scott was third in Heat 5 and progressed to the semis with a 10.67 clocking. Greg finished seventh in Heat 7 in 10.93.
In the 400 metres for men Omar SIMPSON clocked a PB of 47.24 in Heat 3 behind Luke Lennon-Ford and Richard Buck to progress to the semi-finals.
The penultimate event on the first night was the Men’s 1,500 metres which saw four representatives from the club. The qualifications for the final were the first 3 from the 3 heats plus the 3 fastest losers. In the first heat James Brewer of Cheltenham set a fast pace opening up with 56.40 and kept the pace going. Dave BISHOP sat off the pace and came through with a strong last lap to win the heat in 3:42.92. In the second Heat Lee Emanuel took it out but at 62.08 for the first lap it was clear that the race would have to speed up dramatically if the fastest losers were to come from that heat. Steve MITCHELL was well placed on the shoulder of the leader. The second lap speeded slightly (60.19) with Steve Mitchell still following Lee Emanuel. Steve picked up the pace at the bell and was well placed coming into the home straight but in a blanket finish could only manage sixth in 3:44.71 and was out of the final. Behind him Dan STUDLEY found the pace a little brisk but will have learnt a lot from the experience as he finished tenth in 3:47.07.
Surprisingly Heat Three started more slowly than the second so if Rich PETERS was to make the final he needed to finish in the top three. Never in the lead but well placed throughout Rich finished third in 3:45.06 – slower than Steve – but job done!
Also in action on the Friday night was Emily DIAMOND who pulled out of Heat 2 of the Women’s 400 metres with an injury.
On the Saturday first up for the Club was Charlie MACLEAN in the 3,000 metres steeplechase for men. Not quite in the 8:56 shape he was last year Charlie will have been disappointed that he was one of only six starters. Charlie sensibly settled into the back of the field and kept his momentum throughout closing on the fourth and fifth placers in the final kilometre and producing one of the closest finishes of the day as he battled for fifth place only to be given sixth in a photo finish with the same time as the fifth placer.
Scott BAJERE was drawn in Semi-Final Two of the Men’s 100 metres – which will be remembered for James Dasaolu’s stunning 9.91: Scott finished sixth in 10.67 – the same as his first round time. Scott will have benefited from an outing in a race that was won in a truly World class time.
The Men’s 400 metres is a good event for the UK at the moment and Omar’s semi was strong but the second semi was equally as strong. Omar certainly gave it everything and was in the mix off the bend before fading slightly in the straight to finish seventh. His time of 47.29 only just outside his PB from the heat the previous day.
Dave BISHOP and Richard PETERS toed the start-line of the Men’s 1,500 metre final for what was expected to be a close race and so it proved. Your reporter’s prediction of a steady 800 metres followed by a burn-up proved an accurate prediction as Lee Emanuel (69.02) led at 400 and Kris Gauson (2:15.05) led at 800 metres. Both Dave and Rich have a bit of finishing pace and when the race got going they moved through with Rich probably the fastest finisher of the whole field – so he will be disappointed to finish fourth in 3:52.35 (and .01 off a medal) with Dave fifth in 3:52.40.
The final day on Sunday saw our 200 metre runners take to the track with Theo CAMPBELL first up in Heat 1. Theo finished fifth in his heat in 21.72. Chris STONE gained valuable experience in his first UK Senior Championships finishing sixth in Heat 4 in 21.55.
The last Club athlete to perform was Christina JONES who has been throwing consistently this season but is still looking to pull out a big one. Her third round throw of 59 metres and 6 centimetres was just short of her PB of 59 metres 25 centimetres set earlier this year at the Midland League at Yate. This throw earned her fourth place the joint best performance by a club athlete.
It was good to see club athletes competing in UK Senior Championships and also that a fair number of coaches were up there to support them. Hopefully 2014 will see even more club athletes there – looking for selection for Commonwealth and European Games slots. With only one in the Women’s 10,000 metres and ten in the Women’s 5,000 metres your reporter will certainly look to have some representation from Bristol & West next year.
Keith Brackstone reports.