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Indoor Track & Field February 18/19th

Indoor Round Up and UK Indoor Champs

This weekend we reached the pinnacle of our Indoor season with the UK Championships at Birmingham and National ‘Masters’ Championships at Sheffield.

A proud five athletes made up this elite group of B&W athletes who have reached a level where they were accepted for the prestigious UK event – Ester Leong, Jenna Blundell, Mayalee Osola, Simran Kaur, and Jody Smith.

Jenna and Mayalee commenced activities early on Saturday in the heats of the Women’s 60m hurdles. For U20 Mayalee it was a tall order running against our top performers after only a few races at this Senior event. Looking very nervous on the start line she had a storming run to lead at the first hurdle, but her lack of confidence gradually told as she began to reach for those paces between the hurdles. By the final two hurdles she was needing to clear by an extra margin just to make enough strides. This lost her momentum and resulted in her seventh position in 8.88 secs. This equalled her time in winning the Welsh Championships two weeks ago and is slightly inferior to her 8.77 secs PB set at the EA U20 Champs last week. So not a bad performance for a newcomer to this big event. On the other hand, Jenna is now a big star and expectation was high for her after an 8.21 sec clocking and Club Record set in Belgium recently. Her heat went smoothly winning comfortably in 8.32 secs. In the final she was placed in the next lane to International and favourite Cindy Sember and was determined to make a big impact. The gun went and Jenna stormed off but after the first third paces she started to wobble and as she reached the first hurdle she crashed and lay forlornly on the track. Just trying too hard Jenna but full marks to your determination to win the event. We are proud of the effort made.

U23 Simran is a Para T46 Athlete under the guidance of Whitehall coach Nick Harris and has been invited to run at this event in previous years. In this 60m flat race she was pitted against athletes with diverse abilities so her eventual position of 8th in 9.08 secs is not really comparable, but it is a season’s best.

Jody entered the Men’s 60m flat and went out in his heat in a meritorious 6.95 secs which compares favourably to his season’s best of 6.92 secs.

In the field events Ester Leong was fresh from a brilliant PB clearance of 3.91m at Sport City last week. However, after clearing 3.60m with her first attempt she could not get things together and crashed out of the Pole Vault with 3 failures at 3.70m. Disappointing but that is how athletics goes Ester.

On a personal note, I was saddened and taken aback as I watched the BBC presentation when an Obituary tribute was paid to my old coach at Thames Valley Harriers. (Coach also to another Whitehall coach ‘Debo’ Ademuyewo). Ron Roddan died on 10th Feb 2023 at the age of 91. Ron was a quiet unassuming man who Coached many of Britain’s top sprinters and 400m runners, helping win Olympic medals for Katherine Merry and Darren Campbell and of course Olympic Gold and World Championships medals for Linford Christie. Treasured memories – Ron thanks for all those hours of dedication to my own athletic development and ongoing love of our sport.

The National ‘Masters’ Championships were also held this weekend in Sheffield and prominent B&W Athlete Peter Mountain gained real success in the Over 65 category taking gold at 800m and 1,500m. Peter ran away from his opponents in both races to clock 2:41.59 and 5:27.61 respectively. Well done Pete.

A final note that old B&W favourite David Brown, now at Peterborough, took the Silver Medal in the V40 400m with a very respectable 54.92 sec clocking.

Mike Strange

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