We wished our athletes all the best for the UK Championships on Friday and hoped that they would perform well over the weekend at Alexander Stadium. Two years ago the blog reported how good it was to see so many club athletes at the Olympic Games trials – two years on and the class of 2012 have been joined by newcomers – some of whom have had amazing break throughs from unlikely backgrounds. Most have moved closer to the medals and Emily DIAMOND and Rich PETERS actually won bronze medals. So as not to show any favour towards any discipline we will review their performances in alphabetic order.
Scott BAJERE finished fourth in Heat 4 of the Men’s 100 metres in 10.73 to make it to the semi-finals as a fastest loser. Scott was drawn in Semi-final 3 but didn’t start – let’s hope his decision not to run was precautionary and he hasn’t picked up an injury.
Dave BISHOP qualified comfortably in second place of the third heat of the Men’s 1,500 metres in 3:44.53. In the final he was horribly boxed at the 250 metre to go point and was involved in a real scramble (did he cause it?) that saw Chris Warburton and Alex Tovey on the floor; Dave hurdled at least one athlete but by then Charlie Grice had taken the leaders away and Dave finished in eighth place in 3:50.43 as the two fallers ran in eleventh and twelfth.
Yannick BUDD made sure of qualification for the final finishing second to Will Sharman in Heat 2 of the Men’s 110 metres hurdles. Yannick’s time was 13.76. In the final Mike Strange would have been pleased with Yannick’s technique as he finished fourth in 13.69 only 8/100ths off a silver medal. A great race under pressure – clipping only the final hurdle – and a real reinforcement of Yannick’s progress this year.
Theo CAMPBELL was drawn in Heat 3 of the 200 metres and ran 21.49 for third place in a heat won by Adam Gemili – just outside his fastest time of the year. A time of 21.29 was required to progress to the semi-finals as a fastest loser – which would have been close to his PB of 21.27 from 2012.
Emily DIAMOND made sure of qualification for the final winning Heat 3 in 53.09 and was rewarded for a well judged run in the final with a Bronze medal in 52.75. Emily looked strong down the home straight and was so close to a top two finishing place that might have seen her chasing a European qualifying time. Her bronze medal was evidence of her growing maturity in her new, longer distance and surely this is just the start of her career as a medalist and performer on the International stage at senior level.
Charlotte GREEN – what can you say – recreational runner to UK finalist in 2 years. Charlotte’s pre-race plan went out of the window with her first lap a far quicker start than she or coach Dave Taylor anticipated but it put her in the mix with a second group after five athletes got away and she stuck with it for a great sixth place in 10:43.86 just outside her PB and a real confirmation that a sub-10:30 clocking can’t be too far away.
Christina JONES will surely be another club athlete who will have come away thinking a medal was there to be had. I am not sure if there were any competitions where Christina threw below 60 metres until the finals of the British Championships. Her fifth place came with a throw of 59 metres 46 centimetres and she threw five consistent throws but her PB of 61 metres 69 centimetres and good recent form would have suggested that another PB was possible. However, Christina was another athlete who performed to suggest that a medal in these championships will be possible in the future.
Molly LONG at just 17 years old had her first taste of a senior British Championship and finished seventh in Heat 2 of the Women’s 800 metres in 2:06.83 just over a second outside of her PB of 2:05.67. One of a number of young club athletes who will have benefitted enormously from the learning experience.
Charlie MACLEAN ran a very well judged race and was always moving through the field getting up to fifth place by the finish. Charlie ran a PB of 8:51.02 which was not surprising to those who have seen him training at Whitehall lately. Coach Tom Watson has got him back into shape after a winter affected by colds and bugs. He is another athlete who looks to be closing in on a future medal.
Steve MITCHELL is still a novice at racing 5,000 metres so racing the British Championships was a big ask from new Coach James Thie but Steve acquitted himself well. Like Charlie MacLean he worked his way through the field and he covered the key move with 4 laps to go. At one point it looked as though he might get up to fifth place having edged past Ryan McLeod and Jon Thewlis and closing on Jonny Taylor at the bell but Ryan and Jon came back past him in the last 50 metres – still he was rewarded with a PB of 14:13.01 and a couple of good scalps.
Rich PETERS finished second in Heat 2 of the Men’s 1,500 metres in the slowest of the three heats. Five athletes finished in .79 of a second in the heat and at one point Coach Mike Down wondered whether Rich would make the final. He did. In the final Rich still looked a bit out of sorts and wasn’t well placed with 250 metres to go. However, as athletes hit the track he saw a gap and finished as fast as anyone taking bronze in 3:48.33. Was this a missed opportunity though? Coming back from a year at your American University is always a tough shout but Rich is yet another who really is on the edge of a big breakthrough.
Hayley PITMAN cleared 1 metre 74 centimetres at the third attempt for tenth place in the Women’s High Jump on only her second competition since injury after clearing 1 metre 81 indoors in Sheffield back in February. Good to see Hayley back jumping and she will go on to greater heights as she gets more competitions under her belt on the comeback trail.
Omar SIMPSON was fourth in his heat of the 400 metres in 47.55 and made it into the semi-finals as an automatic qualifier. Omar finished sixth in the third semi-final in 47.49 in what was a classy field – it would have taken a PB to progress farther as the two fastest losers for the final clocked 46.19 and 46.26.
Dan STUDLEY will be disappointed with ninth place in Heat 1 of the Men’s 1,500 metres in 3:51.80. This has been a good season for Dan so far but he finished seven seconds off the pace and five from his heat made the final and he could have been there or thereabouts on a good day.
Overall it was a great weekend for the club’s performance athletes and shows how much they as individuals and the club as a whole are progressing. Two bronze medals represented great personal achievements for Emily DIAMOND and Rich PETERS and if the whole class of 2012 continue their progress it will be interesting to see what 2015 and 2016 might hold. Not to mention those who still have other championships to competing in during the remainder of this summer.