Grand Prix 1 – NIAC Cardiff & Southern England Student Sports Champs – Lee Valley

After last week’s thin showing it is good to report that people turned up in abundance at Cardiff Met for their annual ‘Christmas Classic’ and it was also great to note that Andrea GARCIA-LOCK took a whole host of Under-20 athletes to Lee Valley on Wednesday 7th December 2016 for the SESSA Championships amongst whom there were some very successful B&W Athletes.

First to Lee Valley where after a dormant period Sam BARRETT sprang back to dominance to win the Championship Long Jump with a winning leap of 5.20 metres.  In fact Sam also won this Championship last year so this just cemented her supremacy.  Another Under 20 lady to feature well was Jessica SHEFF who cleared 1.45 metres to finish just out of the medals in fourth place in the High Jump.   The men were also prominent in the Long Jump with Will McMILLEN finishing seventh with a leap of 5.69 metres and Tariq THOMAS coming tenth with a 5.40 metre jump.  Tariq also ran a very good 60 metres in 7.81 seconds to complete a very good excursion to London for him.  Evergreen Alex FIELDS won the 400 metres as a Senior with an untroubled time of 52.59 seconds.  It is good to see you back Alex.

I also note that Higher Competition Member Gavin PHILLIPS (Under-23) posted times of 8.65 and 8.66 for the 60 metre Hurdles at Eton on 4th December to take 2 second places in the WSEH Winter Series.  I hope it means that you will be with us again in 2017 Gavin where you will be a welcome British League competitor.

Before moving on to Cardiff I must correct a slight error in last week’s blog where I credited Lily BAILEY with an Under-13 200 metres of 30.33 seconds.  In fact she was much better than that clocking 29.65 for the distance which was the second fastest time from 15 Under-13 200 metres races on the day.  Sorry Lily.

At Cardiff on Sunday 11th December 2016 serious runs were mixed with the festive flavour in this year’s first Cardiff Met Grand Prix.  The outstanding highlight was a magnificent 3km by Kate MALTBY where she broke the Meeting Record to go second on the Club All Time Indoor List behind Irish International Maria McCAMBRIDGE with a time of 9:03.60.  Kate followed the pacemaker rigidly, opened a big gap on the rest of the field and finished with a strong burst to show that she really means business in 2017.  This is an Indoor PB by Kate by a massive 17 seconds and really sets her up well for her forthcoming International representation in the Brussels Cross-Cup in Belgium next week.  Kate was followed home by Will DAVIDSON who looked assured in a 30 second PB of 9:11.59 showing the merits of some hard training with the Club.  Charlotte TAYLOR-GREEN also demonstrated good preparation for 2017 with a PB improvement of 3 seconds to 9:33.77 to place fifth in a very strong race.

In an earlier race Jack MILLAR finished a strong sixth in an Indoor PB of 8:57.01 and was beaten back in a sprint finish after staying well in contention for most of his race.  In the final race of four B&W as always were there in force.  Evergreen Dave BEDWELL after starting cautiously emerged in an outstanding fourth place with a time of 10:39.94 followed by ‘birthday girl’ Sarah EVERITT in eighth with another PB of 10:57.74 (a Club age best Indoors).  New girl Ana-Maria DURAN-MINGO followed Sarah after a very consistent even paced run to finish in 11:13.89.  An excellent debut run in B&W colours.

In the field Colin HICKEY coached Simon HAMMANN proved an outstanding find for B&W as he won the Long Jump against a 14 strong field with a jump of 6.72 metres.  Simon also competed in the 60 metres where he finished sixth in 7.41 seconds.  Also in the 60 metres we saw Simeon WYNNE in a time of 7.49 and Zeke MENSA-KESSIE with 7.85.  Zeke also competed in the 300 metres with a time of 42.62 seconds.  Both showed a little rawness about running Indoors and vowed to do better next time.  Training partner Alexandra BRYANT pushed herself into a creditable second place in her heat in 8.58 seconds but failed to make the ‘all star’ Final.

The women’s Long Jump proved to be very disappointing for Andrea JESSUDASON where she finished with four no jumps whilst her training partner Sam RAETTIG saved the day with a 3.90 distance in thirteenth place.

Alex FIELDS competed over distance in the 600 metres and ran a sensibly paced race to finish second in 1:27.04 and it was heart warming to see outstanding 800 metre runner from the past Martin FLOOK out on the track after a long, long absence.  Martin now wearing a patch to control the diabetes that has troubled him for many years ran 1:28.21 and looked all but a winner as he came off the final bend but he just faded into third place on the line.  It was also good to see his lifelong Coach and ex Vice-Chairman of the Club Paul DERRICK in close attendance.

International Multi-Eventer and Higher Competition Member Ada’ora CHIGBO won the Shot resoundingly with a Putt of 12.49 metres

Finally in passing we need to recognise that two of our prominent athletes finished high in the Athletics Weekly ‘Readers Poll’ of Athletes of the Year.  Caroline POWELL was second in the British Masters category (men & women) albeit behind brilliant B&W International Life Member Joanne PAVEY.  Sophie KAMLISH came fourth in the Female Para-Athlete category so that is recognition for their International achievements and ends a great season for these two B&W Sprinters.

Mike Strange – 12 December 2016

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