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Indoor Track & Field: Weekend Summary 26/27th February

Mike Strange brings us up to speed on another stellar weekend of Indoor Track & Field action.

UK Athletics Indoor Championships

Bristol and West athletes were in prominence at the UK Indoor Championships at Birmingham and were achieving outstanding performances.

Our international combined events athlete Jenna Blundell excelled in the 60m hurdles winning her heat in 8.31s. In the final, Jenna was great at the start and first to hurdle 1 but she lost a little momentum at about hurdle 2 and was overtaken. Jenna finished fifth in the end in 8.29s, a little short of her Club Record of 8.21 set in January. Nevertheless Jenna set out to win and that is what is necessary to succeed. A good word also for former B&W Higher Competition Athlete Heather Paton, who just pipped Jenna in the final after being firmly beaten by her in the heat. Great runs from both of you.

Simran Kaur again was selected to run the mixed category Para event and executed her run assuredly, finishing fifth in a season's best of 8.66s. Simran really is getting used to the big events and seems on course for Commonwealth Games selection.

We had two men competing in the 400m and Mark Cottam posted an excellent PB of 48.10 in his heat to qualify as a non-automatic qualifier. Alex Daley ran 48.46s just off his best to qualify by right from a slower heat. HC athlete Oliver Biddle sadly did not start in his heat, or we might have been a real club force in the Semi-finals. In those races, both Mark and Alex set off with a vengeance and were well placed at the break, but that early extra effort made them suffer a little at the end. Unfortunately neither qualified for the final, finishing in 48.87s and 48.83s respectively.

In the Long Jump young HC athlete Jake Burkey fared well, gaining a lot of TV coverage. His jump of 7.34m gave him a creditable sixth place in the prestigious final.

In the 1,500m it was good to see old friend Callum Jones competing on the big stage. Callum was drawn in the fast heat and clung on to the pack until the bell lap where he dropped away slightly to finish in a very respectable 3: 51.02. That heat being the fastest saw the first six athletes qualifying for the final, but sadly Callum finished seventh.

City of Birmingham Games

The week before some B&W athletes took the now rare opportunity of competing at the ‘NIA’ in the City of Birmingham Games, with some testing the track for the first time before competing in this week’s UK Championships.

Natalie Isherwood ran a fine 60m in 7.90s, and Jenna Blundell sampled the track to run 8.38s for 60m Hurdles. Our two outstanding 400m specialists, Alex Daley and Mark Cottam, similarly tried out for their forthcoming UK Champs expedition with runs of 48.26s and 48.52s respectively. In the longer distances Tom Foxon ran 800m in a SB of 1:59.75, and Ben Maliphant, venturing Indoor for the first time I think, ran a respectable 4:10.38 for 1,500m. Star performer in the field was HC athlete Joel Townley who Triple Jumped a really exceptional 14.65m.

British Universities Championships

In the British Universities Champs at Sheffield, also a week ago, outstanding HCA Jake Burkey leapt 7.16m to win his Long Jump event and become BUCS Champion.

Our Women’s Triple Jumpers were locked on as potential medal contenders with Emma Bakare achieving 11.88m, eventually coming second in the final with a 11.60m jump. However, new recruit Caitlin Gallagher won the qualifying competition, out jumping Emma with 11.62m but then Caitlin lost things in a tense final only reaching a below her best 10.96m. Emma went on to finish a fine fifth in the Shot with a throw of 12.29m - a little short of her recent 12.80m throw a couple of weeks before, but still a very good performance.

Our Women’s Pole Vaulters vaulted well setting SBs with Ester Leong clearing 3.80m for fourth place, just outside the medals, and Cally Walder achieving 3.20m in eighth place.

Simran Kaur T46 ran the 60m and won by a long way in 8.74s in the Para final. You are a star Simran.

Top B&W sprinter Khia’aama Kofi followed up on her recent 7.72s for 60m with 7.74s and 7.77s, just dipping out in the semi-finals, before clocking 25.38 and 25.25s for a B&W chart topping 200m. It is the first time that I can recall Khia’aama running an indoor 200m so that can’t be bad.

Club Treasurer Natalie Bretherton had a hectic few days, running two 3000m races. In three very full heats Natalie qualified comfortably in third with a time of 9:59.07, before two days returning to finish eighth in her final, clocking 9:47.92 (PB). Well done Natalie.

On the Men’s side James Osola (older brother to supreme hurdler Mayalee) clocked a super PB of 7.22s.

Over in the USA, Tia Jackson really put her injury woes behind her, with a scintillating 60m in 7.73s after Long Jumping 5.66m the previous day.

Last but not least, our esteemed world age record holder Caroline Powell sprinted in Portugal to record a great 72.86s in her V65 masters age group 400m race.

One clarification to last week’s report in the 60m Under 15 Boy’s race at the South West Championships - the result was in fact Dan Webb 8.60s, Owen Garrett 8.88s and Tommy Mattis-King 9.01s. So apologies to Dan whom I did not give due credit to.

Mike Strange

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