Welsh Christmas Classic Grand Prix
It was a pleasure once again this year to be present at the Welsh ‘Christmas Classic’ at their National Indoor Arena in Cardiff and witness very encouraging early performances for B&W Athletes. Also, a pleasure to see happy athletes and spectators dressed for the Christmas occasion in fancy dress and in appropriate spirit.
Highlight of this meet is the annual ‘Santa’ 60m race with each competitor racing fully clothed like Santa (with white beard as well). This year our fine Pole Vaulter Harry Petyt managed to come second in the really great time (fully clothed remember) of 7.72 secs.
Harry made it a momentous day by earlier winning the Pole Vault with the equal third best ever indoor vault by a Bristol athlete with a 4.30m clearance. He started at an extremely low height of 3.90m and continued to clear by a large margin as the height rose incrementally by 10cm until clearing at his first attempt at 4.30m and then failing with his 3 attempts at his outdoor PB height of 4.40m. Nice one Santa.
Ironically Harry’s 4.30m equals an indoor PB for past Bristol & West vaulter Gareth Lease who was at this event, now coaching another fine winner on the day, Esther Leong. Esther cleared a super 3.55m on her 2nd attempt to match her vault in last year’s event. Well done Esther.
Samantha Barrett regained some of her self-confidence with a 10.99m Triple Jump on her final sixth round jump to achieve her second-best Indoor jump. In fact, Sam has jumped 10.99m outdoors on two other occasions in 2022 so a third makes for consistency. Her coach Paul Weston was very pleased with her performance.
In the Men’s Triple Jump young George Isgrove came second with a 12.45m jump but was a little disillusioned by the performance having an outdoor best of 13.47m. Great prospect George is now up into the U20 ranks and is also prominent at Hurdling so possibly is finding the mix of training difficult. He has recently been nominated to the England Athletics ‘Talent’ programme for jumps so really must await the results all the special attention that he is receiving before making decisions on priorities. I say well done for the performance at Cardiff and remind George that we can all have below par performance days. George also cleared 5.58m in the Long Jump to finish 7th. George Hunter was also competing in the triple jump and leapt to 11.68m with his final jump to take fifth place and was also down on his 2022 outdoor performance standard.
HCA Member Eleni Francis was well satisfied with an indoor PB of 5.45m in the Long Jump surpassing an earlier 5.44 jump in the competition to take third place. Again, Paul Weston was delighted.
Mayalee Osola who first joined B&W from Gymnastics and then excelled particularly as a Hurdler but also as a multi-event athlete showed her talent at the High Jump with a 1.55m clearance for seventh place. This performance was notable as a personal best which believe me means the world in an Heptathlete’s progress. Mayalee is also achieving good progress in the Pole Vault I am told but her prowess comes shining through in the Hurdles where she has made that important transition to the ultimate ladies 60m height of 84.0 cm. Mayalee’s debut at the Senior height of 8.83 secs was magnificent winning the U20 age group and even surpassing her previous performances at the lower height. Mayalee is right up there in the Bristol Rankings with current top UK performer Jenna Blundell, UK International Heather Ross and local legend Bridget Ruttledge.
Mayalee has recently commenced ‘Boarding’ at top sports education establishment Millfield School along with that other great talent Tamara Jackson. They are both getting the best in Sports attention (as well as normal education of course) and one hopes that they can both go on to maybe surpass the achievements of that other Bristol AC athlete and Millfield girl, Olympic legend, and World Record holder Mary Bignall!
Tamara also a multi-event athlete but primarily a Sprinter was the surprise winner of the Shot in her first performance with the heavier 4 kilo implement. Tammy threw 9.92m to take her pick of a prize from the display under the Christmas Tree and delight her father John who was there to watch her.
In the 60m flat, Tamara had a really tight race with another HCA athlete Delleah Belgrave. Delleah came out on top on this occasion with 7.79 secs to Tammy’s 7.88 in the heats and they both proceeded to the final. In that final, Delleah was able to improve her time to 7.76 secs and Tammy following that Shot effort had to give way with a 7.92 clocking. Sarah Long clocked 8.22 for fourth place in a later heat and our great Paralympian Sophie Kamlish clocked a very respectable 8.60 secs.
In the Men’s 60m most prominent were our Master athletes Mark Ellery and James Marsh with Over 60 Mark succeeding with 8.67 secs over James with his 9.04 secs. Also, Junayd Perryman clocked 7.44 secs along with Euco Lima who clocked 7.68 secs.
In the 300m Eleanor McIntosh once again consolidated her recent performances with 43.42 secs to head the U17 Women’s group whilst Kyle Magwood and Tom Foxon clocked respectable 39.24 and 39.73 times respectively.
The two 600m Women’s races both started well for B&W with Maria Jones tracking local winner Keira Devereux (North Somerset) but then fading back into fourth place on her last lap with 1:41.14 and Amelia Honor after taking an early lead which she was not able to hold slipping back and eventually clocking 1:48.20.
More success in the 3,000m where David Corkey ran away in heat 3 to score a great win in 8:46.54 and in a later race M65 evergreen Peter Mountain finished with a flourish to clock 11:46.54. U20 Woman Libby Harley clocked 12:49.51 behind Peter in that race.