South West Indoor Champs – NIAC Cardiff – 6th January 2019

What a joy it was to witness at Cardiff such a plethora of Bristol & West young athletes competing in this prestigious Indoor Meet. We are pleased to note not only quite a few Gold, Silver and Bronze performances amongst our ranks but also good competitive spirit amongst the circa 30 B&W athletes on show. Well done to our Junior Academy. With the first event commencing at 10:30 and the final event clearing the track at 16:45 this was truly mammoth. Quite short events (from 60 metres to 1,500 metres) came relentlessly on to the track providing a spectacle of Indoor Athletics. The field featured Pole Vault and Long Jump competitions with very lengthy Start Lists.
Where shall we start – I think with our sprinters where the spectacular Under-15 Ryan BRADY (who had already excelled before Christmas to win the 200 metres Gold) ran 8.03 for 60 metres to dominate and take another Gold Medal. Interestingly for older members Ryan headed Luke GAME son of our past Junior International Sprinter Duncan GAME in the medals. Ricardo POWELL also dominated to take Gold in the Under-13 event winning in 8.39 (a Club Record) ahead of our other competitors Akalie REED 8.92 and an injured Maxwell JACKSON 10.10. In the Under-17 event Josh MAGGS took the Bronze position with 7.42 and coming back from an injury that has kept him away from hurdling Edward WILSON just missed the medals running 7.49.
In the Women’s sprints Kasavia SMOLKA-HEADLEY (Under-15) led the pack but just missed the medals with an 8.38 clocking followed closely by Tamara JACKSON 8.54, Ella BOWELL 8.87 and Libby DICKENS 9.19. A word about Libby who is an outstanding hurdler and sprinter but has had a long term painful leg injury that has prevented her from training. Her current times do not reflect her talent but of course in both events she was drawn in the lead race which made it more difficult to succeed and made her feel that she had let herself down. It is tough when coming back from injury Libby you have to be patient. In the Under-17 races Disability International Simran KAUR also drew a tough top seed race against able bodied competitors but she still excelled with an 8.66 clocking. In the Under-13 series Jasmine RICHARDS clocked 9.37 and hurdler Rivie BATES 9.48.
In the longer events Steve KERFOOT ran cautiously for the first lap of the Under-17 Men’s 800 metres but then took the initiative with regular 32 second laps to win in 2:07.74 and take the Bronze Medal in a fine Outdoor as well as Indoor PB. Steve surely would have beaten the Silver medallist’s time (in a separate race) had he taken the initiative earlier. Danni SINCLAIR took the Bronze in the Under-17 women’s races with 2:27.94, as did Tilly EDWARDS 2:39.09 and Jasmine RICHARDS 2:58.20 Club Indoor Record in the U13 races. Grace CLARIDGE ran 2:39.56 for fifith SW place having started well but settled back in the middle of her race then finishing with a flourish on the final lap.
In the field Lottie STEIN had a number of excellent clearances in the Under-15 Pole Vault to take the Bronze with a 2.51metre (Indoor PB) clearance behind Gold winner and our adopted athlete Nyree PERRY who cleared 3.01 metres. Nyree trains with us at Whitehall. In the Under-13 Long Jump the youngsters performed well with Ricardo POWELL jumping 3.88 metres, Akalie REED 3.64 metres and Max JACKSON 3.37 metres. Patrick KYLE jumped 4.21 metres in the Under-15 Long Jump to take an excellent Bronze Medal following an earlier Bronze in the 60 metre Hurdles with a 10.23 clocking. Two Bronze Medals in one day Patrick, where will it end as you now are growing? Newcomer Keanu WONG had a difficult hurdle race where he was disturbed by the arm of another competitor which disturbed his stride to see him finishing in 10.70 seconds. Keanu had also returned on the previous day from a skiing holiday in Austria which possibly compounded problems but this was nothing like the beautifully smooth and accomplished hurdling that Keanu shows in training. We all have bad ones Keanu, just put this race behind you now and look to future races.
Outstanding Alice MATTHEWS did not start in the re-run Under-15 60 metre Hurdles (in the first race the hurdles were not spaced correctly) but her shoes were amply filled by our other competitors. Smooth hurdler Nyah REUTER led the field with 10.19 closely followed by a rejuvenated Ella BOWELL in 10.20 and Tamara JACKSON in 10.29 in the same heat. Very close and requiring a detailed photo finish picture to decide this result. Libby DICKENS clocked 10.47 as commented about earlier just off the pace was in her top seed race. Sole Under-13 hurdler Rivie BATES missed the Under-13 medals by one place showed good promise clocking 13.15.
Two athletes caught my eye as I know both were searching for confidence in training. Patrick KYLE has been struggling to get 3 strides between the hurdles and had to be convinced that he should give it a go at Cardiff. In the warm, windless NIAC compared to the outdoor Winter nightmare of Whitehall he accomplished his goal and with his Long Jump triumph went home a happy boy. Ella BOWELL had a similar confidence problem with hurdles but under the pressure of competition she came through with flying colours looking the part just behind Nyree. She also did well in the 60 metre sprint to add to her fine 200 metres before Christmas. So a great day was had by all.
Mike Strange – 6 January 2019

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