Yet another season affected by the pandemic, but as they say, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. The lack of access to track facilities during parts of the off-season, just meant we had to be a bit more innovative with our training sessions, increasing the use of city’s parks, fields, hills, and gardens!
Most of my athletes are talented across several events and therefore also rely on the coaching skills of Eugene Hechavarria and Paul Weston (Long Jump), Mike Strange and Jeff Dickens (Hurdles), Julie Alexander and Joy Bray (High jump) and Ken Holmes (Throws).
Being multi-talented can be a blessing as well as a curse, and although Lily Bailey secured personal bests in 100m, 200m, sprint and long hurdles, Long jump, Javelin, High Jump and 800m, I know that she expected more, given the hard work she put in during the pre-season. The lesson for the clever A-Level student is that there is not a linear relationship between hard work and success, in fact the line might not be straight at all. However, Lily should be proud of her achievements and moves into U20 age group with a lot of confidence, having qualified for yet another English Schools final, being the top ranked U17 high jumper in the Southwest. Lily was also top 3 in 300m / 300 hurdles and top 10 in most of her other events. Her 17th place out of 37 competitors, in this weekend’s ESAA combined events in Bedford, points to a bright future in the heptathlon if she wants it.
Tamara Jackson’s first year as a U17 has seen huge improvements in her sprint times and the end of her knee issues which has plagued her for the last two seasons, which means she can now train regularly for multi-events. Tamara finished the year as the fastest U17 sprinter in the county, 6th in the Southwest over 100m (12.60) and 4th over 200m (26.06) which all bodes well for next year.
Our most successful athlete this year is Mayalee Osola. Her personal bests in the 100m and 200m have been a foundation for a fantastic year as a U17 80m sprint hurdler. Although she (unfairly in my opinion) missed selection for the English Schools finals, Mayalee has gone on to post very fast times, culminating in a top 10 national ranking run this weekend in Bedford with 11.52. She has also taken to multi-events like a duck to water, competing in most of the events for the first time this year. Mayalee was the top Avon U17 multi eventer in Bedford this weekend, placing 13th. She leapt 5.14m in the long jump and 28.10 in the javelin, all impressive stuff, but the fact that this is only her third year in the sport, and she is also dabbling with pole vault, makes it clear to see this ex-GB gymnast has real potential.
Like Tamara, Mayalee has another year in the U17 age group, so we are all eager to see how far she will go.
A mention must go out to other training group members who started training with me this season - Ruby Woodman (U15), Ryan Brady (U17), Nyah Reuter (U17), Libby Dickens (U17), James Osola (Back to Bath Uni) and Matt Hula (now off to Sheffield University) - all have achieved numerous personal bests this season.
Well done and keep up the good work! See you in 3 weeks’ time - 12th October.