MIDLANDS INDOOR OPEN – HPC ALEXANDER STADIUM, BIRMINGHAM – 11 & 12 JANUARY 2014
WELSH ATHLETICS – GRAND PRIX 2 & SOUTH WEST CHAMPS – 12 JANUARY 2014
The highlight of the Welsh Grand Prix for me was brilliant Pole Vaulting from British U20 record holder Lucy BRYAN. Lucy was back on the runway early this year preparing for International action in a couple of weeks time at Glasgow. Boy did she look good, when you watch class it stands apart from the rest. Lucy opened (when all others had gone out) with an easy 4.00 clearance before making 4.10 on her 2nd vault. Her 3 attempts at 4.20 were very close with the problem being distance and not height (she came down too early each time) so the season augurs well for Britain’s number 2 vaulter.
Bristol’s High Jumpers were also to the fore in Birmingham with Joy Bray’s talented squad showing their class. Britain’s sixth rated High Jumper Hayley PITMAN was back near her best with a 1.75m opener to the season taking third place against top competition. Amelia HEMPLEMAN-ADAMS was close on Hayley’s heals with a 1.60m win in the Under-20 event showing what an outstanding combination we have for UK League this year. Most satisfied with his day must be Under-23 Adam WALL who surpassed his PB with a great 2.05m clearance. Adam is gradually inching up the rankings and must be in line to take Mark LAKEY’s Club Outdoor Record some time soon. Also to be reckoned with new signing Shaun SCOTT cleared an exciting 1.91m to take third place at Cardiff. Exciting times for Bristol’s High Jump squad. Also noted was 2013 HC Athlete Evie GROGAN who won at Cardiff with a 1.68m clearance.
Steve MITCHELL ran a UK leading 8:04.89 3km in difficult conditions at Cardiff (narrow track and big field which he lapped at least twice). Steve looked invincible as he just ploughed on remorselessly lap after lap. It was great to see the B&W vest in prominence and good to hear other Officials commenting on our domination in numbers at this meeting where the entry approached 400 athletes. Pete WOODWARD ran solidly in this 3,000m race to record 9:11.75.
The pick of the shorter track events was the ‘A’ 400m where two of Alastair ABRAMS athletes were pitted against each other. Young Chris STONE (U20) clocked a brilliant 49.38 opener to the season but was tactically outmanoeuvred by 2nd claim Member Debo ADEMUYEWO who won in 48.77 seconds. Chris ran with his usual boisterous approach but Debo who took the initiative at the break just carefully controlled from the front to finally see off Chris in the finishing straight. Caspar ELIOT also ran a sound series of 400m races at Lee Valley on Sunday with 50.57 in his heat, 50.37 in the S/f to be followed by a 50.09 second place in the final. Caspar is looking to go abroad for warm weather training in March so we look for big things from his 400m hurdling when we go outdoors. At Cardiff in the Women’s ‘B’ race HC Member Emma PIATEK ran with pathetic tactics to win in the second fastest time of the day, 60.41. Emma was overtaken by the girl inside her at the gun and then ran steadily to the 100m mark. Then she suddenly realised in last place that she needed to pull her socks up. Thereafter she ran out of her skin to magnificently catch the leader right on the line. What talent this first year Under-20 has when she finally recognises it. Another HC Athlete, hurdler Hattie DENT ran a solid 64.45 to win her race but the pride of place for me goes to young Maria JONES who from a standing start (for which she received a warning on steadiness from the Starter) ran an excellent 63.05 for second place. Again showing what real young untapped talent she has for this arduous event. Maria later ran a gallant 3,000m being paced most of the way by Charlotte Green and clocked 11:45.02.
Let us not forget the hurdlers at this point – Oliver JEFFERIES improved his PB with an outstanding 8.47 60m clocking taking 5th place in an outstanding blanket finish. With a now fit Club Record Holder, Yannick BUDD opening his hurdles season at the London Games at the end of the month we should again be dominant at this event in 2014.
So on to the sprinters (60m & 200m) and we will put the Ladies first this time. I was well impressed with Dean GARRETT trained Yemma SONGU who clocked 7.99 and 26.74 for the events. Yemma has endured on and off injuries through last year but now looks to be running to her strengths. She will be a very useful member of our UK League team in 2014. It was also great to see Hannah WILLIAMS back in action after almost retiring last year. I think 8.14 was a very sound return to the track for this South Wales based athlete but I know she has much higher expectations for herself. Emma PIATEK also ran a fast 200m in 27.28 for a satisfying win in the ‘C’ race ahead of 400m ‘A’ winner Jade Williams.
The Men were split between Birmingham and Cardiff with Scott BAJERE taking pole position with 6.92 & 6.96 clocking against some of our leading sprinters at Birmingham. Elliott PRENDERGAST also emerging from a long injury ran 7.09 & 7.20 at the same meeting and International Triple Jumper Anthony MATTIS continued his way back with 7.54 & 7.57 clockings. At Cardiff Chris STONE learned another lesson from Debo ADEMUYEWO when he false started and was thrown out of his heat in the 60m Grand Prix heats. Debo went on to take 4th in a blanket finish Grand Final in 6.95. Chris got a compensation run in the Open race and clocked 6.94?? Also running at Cardiff were Romaine HYMAN 7.13 & 22.80, Alex DALEY (U20) 7.30, 7.35 & 23.82, Josh STARKEY 7.39 & 24.16, Yusef AMEUR (U17) 7.48, Mark SMITH (U20) 7.74 & 25.34, Simon PARK 7.79 & 25.7, Kahn FAGAN (U20) 7.82, Matty LATTIBEAUDIERE 7.84 & 7.86 and Dan GALLAGHER (U20) 7.91. Young Jack DONOGHUE who is only U13 and impressed at Cardiff last week ran 8.92 & 9.02 for his 60m races at Birmingham.
Madison THOMAS (U20) looking taller and stronger opened her season quite close to her PB with a reasonable 5.55m Long Jump to take a South West Medal (a lot more to come here). HC Athlete Toby PENREATH (U20) Triple Jumped 13.10m and will cover our horizontal jumps gap very well in 2014; he also did a 6.56 60m on the day.
Our 1,500m runners were also headed by the Ladies with ‘big finish’ Club Captain, Charlotte GREEN coming from far behind to just out sprint Miranda SADLER to the line 4:48.29 to 4:48.56 take good second and thid places with Anna BURTON quite near in fifth place in 4:55.44. Charlotte if you can finish like that you should be much closer to the leader with 400m to go? All three ladies looked capable of much faster but were undone by a slow early pace and the track-side clock not working for their event. Learn from your experiences. On the Men’s side South Wales based 400m specialist Andrew DEAN-YOUNG ran 4:12.51 in the ‘A’ race, but this was a strange race in my opinion for Andrew to choose but I suppose it is an aspect of training. Dave Bedwell (V60) ran 4:40.24 and fellow ‘Master’ Jeremy HOGAN 4:50.49 in the ‘B’ race. David BEDWELL also ran 2:25.90 in the 800m.
All results are on Power of 10 and the Welsh /Midland web sites
Mike Strange – 13 Jan 2014