Welsh Indoor Championships – NIAC Cardiff – Saturday 28th January 2017

This was a high level match with some outstanding performances but when reading be aware that it was also an Open event so there was opportunity for non-Welsh athletes from our side of the border to gain Medals (Open) and prestige.

Bristol & West’s top athlete of the day was undoubtedly sprinter Hannah WILLIAMS who won a Welsh Bronze Medal in the 200 metres and then bettered that with a Silver in the 60 metres (where she finished fifth in the race).  Hannah, who was returning from her Winter’s rest, is not often seen running 200 metres but after second place in her heat in 26.07 seconds she took an easy third place in the final in 25.87 seconds.  That is her fastest time Indoors running for Bristol beating her previous best of 26.02 seconds.  In the 60 metres Hannah held third place in her heat to qualify for the final in 7.89 seconds before beating that by a slight margin in 7.88 seconds to take the Welsh Silver Medal.  She looked confident in her running which is a good sign for the 2017 season.  Interestingly just pipping Hannah in the Final was local girl (U20) Catherine HARDY who is still considering whether to join B&W as a Higher Competition Member for 2017.  Catherine is studying at UWIC and had times of 7.79 in her heat and 7.81 seconds in the final.

Amelia HEMPLEMAN-ADAMS has had a luke warm couple of years with the High Jump but at Cardiff she put all of that behind her with a wonderful 1.68 metre clearance which is an Indoor best in B&W colours.  Often un-emotive Amelia was elated with her clearance but that was nothing compared to the show from her coach Joy Bray who was obviously over the moon.

Long Jumper Abby MILES has been contemplating joining B&W for some time after a season as a Higher Competition Member but at Cardiff she appeared at last in B&W colours.  Her best Jump of 5.15 metres was superb and took sixth place in the high level competition.  Abby is also a fine sprinter so more strength for the summer season.

Steve MITCHELL was on home territory at Cardiff and this week chose to compete in the 800 metres “to get some speed work in”.  He breezed through his heat in second place in 1:56.59 before registering a formidable 1:54.79 for third in the final.  Steve didn’t follow the suicidal pace of 800 metre specialist Alex COOMBER but kept with the small following group.  Steadily clocking 28/29  second laps; Steve was rewarded with a 1:54.79 clocking in third place.  That I believe is Steve’s best 800 metre time for B&W Indoors.  Well done Steve – we await some top runs in the longer events in coming weeks.

In the Men’s High Jump Jamie ANDERSON cleared 1.89 metres to take an outstanding sixth place in a fierce competition.  Jamie is still an Under-20.  Interestingly the clear winner was Higher Competition Member Tom GALE (also Under-20) who, as he did two weeks ago, also cleared 2.16 metres.  Tom is well on the way to consolidating some great International form for 2017.

Highlight of the match was a trilling 110 metre hurdles which was won by ex-UWE student Andy POZZI.

Andy’s time was a brilliant 7.57 seconds (7.56 ht) so watch out for him in the coming International races.  We had no competitors here but it was noted that seventh placed Jacob SPENCE who was a long time Yate athlete appeared here in the colours of Shaftesbury Barnet

Other Bristol old boys who performed well were Leon REID and Cameron WALKER-SHEPPARD.  Leon won an exciting 60 metres final in 6.85 seconds after an even better 6.78 second clocking in his heat.  Cameron was second in the Pole Vault with a 5.01 metre clearance before being eliminated after three unsuccessful attempts at 5.11 metres.  His Father Len was happy to inform me that it was his Birthday and he was 65.  Congratulations Len – always a great supporter of Bristol athletics.

Mike Strange – 28th January 2017

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