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Welsh Christmas Classic Grand Prix – NIAC Cardiff – 19th December

The Christmas Classic on 19th Dec is always a fun event with Officials all dressed festively and Senior athletes reintroducing themselves to competition through largely non-standard distances. A good number of B&W athletes participated as usual and met with some notable success. The meet also concludes with the exciting 60m dash for athletes completely clad in full Santa outfits including a beard just to confirm the Christmas spirit and prizes to event winners were largely Christmas Puddings!

First up inside the 200m track was the Women’s Pole Vault where we were represented by Under 23 Ester Leong now safely back from a spell studying in Russia and the prodigious Under 17 vaulter Nyree Perry. Nyree came in early and cleared 3.15m at the third attempt to take 4th place whilst Ester introduced herself to the competition at 3.45m before finally completing her day with a 3.55m clearance to lose out on first place on count back.

In another early event Jedani Wright, now a student at Cardiff Met and therefore on his home track and working off a shortened run up went out to a fine 13.66m to confirm 2nd place whilst Paul Weston trained Under 17 George Isgrove succeeded in clearing 13m Indoors with an excellent 13.30m jump. Later George was close to his best with a 1.70m clearance in the High Jump. In the separate Women’s Triple Jump another NSAC Paul Weston/Eugene Hechavaria coached athlete U17 Rosa FORD cleared 10.61m.

The 60m hurdles featured our young 17-year-old multi-event athlete Melissa Choong who in her first race to this hurdle specification clocked a respectable 9.77 secs. B&W Higher Competition Member Jordana Morrish also clocked a good 9.39 secs, but sadly formidable Holly Mae McKenna withdrew from the competition, so we were deprived of a great challenge at the head of the field.

Melissa went on to finish equal 2nd in the High Jump with a very promising 1.60m clearance and Jordana jumped 5.19m in the Long Jump and threw 9.33m in the Shot.

We had 4 competitors in the 5 heats of the Women’s 60m dash with Under 23 Natalie Isherwood succeeding in making the Final winning her heat in an outstanding 7.94 secs before surpassing that with another great performance of 7.88 secs in the final to take 5th place in a very closely run race. Under 20 Maira Mumma just failed to make the final but was pleased with her time of 8.03 secs as was inspiring Under 17 athlete Rivie Bates who surpassed her pb with a fine 8.40 performance and after a solid start was just pipped on the line in 2nd place. Rivie’s newfound speed and strength should set her up well for the forthcoming Southwest Championships when she can a last compete in her main event the 60m hurdles. Fahmida Ahmed was our 4th competitor here and clocked a personal best of 8.71 secs to take 3rd in her heat. You can’t do better than produce a pb.

In the Men’s 60m B&W were represented by evergreen Mark Ellery who at 60 years of age clocked a superb 8.69 secs in his heat. Higher Competition Under 20 athletes Joe CARTER and Jake Cover were prominent in their heats with Joe registering a fine 7.00 secs and Jake 7.33 secs with Joe managing to make the final with that time. In the final Joe went out with a vengeance to take 2nd place a 6.98 secs clocking losing out by just 6/100th of a second in a very closely run race.

It was great to see Alex Fields back from injury and competing again but sadly after initially being prominent he was forced to drop out of the 600m and sadly there were no more B&W competitors in either these races or the 300m races.

The BMC sponsored 3,000m races were strong with 7 races in all each with circa 12 competitors so success was hard won. B&W did show well though with Lee Gawler heading his race for the majority of the time only to be passed by past B&W member Peter Woodward near to the end. Lee finished only 2 secs behind Peter and got a fine pb of 9:25.11 secs. Then V35 Masters Athlete Katy Roy went even better in the Women’s race to dominate and finish a clear first in 10:32.65. This time beats her outdoor performance this year by 11 secs which can’t be bad.

A fine day for Bristol athletes all round.

Two recent notable performers away from Cardiff were Under 23 James Osola running a formidable 60m in 7.23 secs at Lee Valley and Matthew Hula improving his 60m time to 7.65 secs and Long Jumping 5.21m at Sheffield.

Mike Strange

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