2017 Championships action underway
The first day of England Athletics championships in 2017 has taken place. Not only was the first title of the year decided in the Under 20 women’s pentathlon there was also plenty of action in the first day of both the Senior Men's Heptathlon and Under 20 Men’s Heptathlon competitions.
Under 20 Women’s Pentathlon
Holly McArthur (Club: Edinburgh AC, Coach: Iain McEwan) claimed the first England Athletics title of 2017 in the Under 20 women’s pentathlon.
An 8.94 (922 pts) 60m hurdles personal best put her in a strong position off the first event as Isabel Wakefield (Club: North Devon AC, Coach: Martin Brockman) led with her 8.81 (950 pts) amidst some impressive sprint hurdling as Alice Linaker (Club: City of York AC, Coach: Matt Barton) also went under 9sec with 8.98 (914 pts).
It was no surprise to see Ada'ora Chigbo (Club: North Somerset AC, Coach: Ken Holmes/ Fuzz Caan) who won Commonwealth Youth silver at high jump move into contention in that event. Her 1.74 (903 pts) put her into the lead as Natasha Smith (Club: Stroud & District AC, Coach: Kerry Eddie) also went clear at the same height. Wakefield and McArthur both clearer 1.59 (724 pts) and now they were second and fourth respectively as Grace Bower (Club: Sale Harriers Manchester, Coach: Mike Holmes) took third position after a mark of 1.65 (795 pts).
The shot once again saw Chigbo taking top points as she recorded an 11.98 (660 pts) to progress to 2363. Bower moved second as a 10.30 gave her 549 points and a 2215 total. Wakefield now lay third with 9.89 (522 pts) and a mark of 2196 as McArthur closed the gap with a 10.08 (535 pts) moving her to 2181.
Then came an all-important long jump competition. Jumping out to 5.76 gave McArthur 777 points and the lead as Chigbo recorded 5.09 (584 pts) to lie 11 points behind in total. With Wakefield not starting Bower was now third after a 5.34 (654 pts) leap.
In the 800m McArthur opened out clear daylight on her rivals as she came home 10 seconds clear in 2:18.37 (846 pts) to record a total of 3804. Chigbo clocked 2:33.37 for 651 pts less than three seconds behind the 2:30.77 (683 pts) of Bower which was enough to hold on to the silver medal position by 46 points with Bower making certain of bronze.
Senior Men Heptathlon – Day One
In the Senior men’s competition defending champion Liam Ramsay (Club: City of Sheffield & Dearne AC, Coach: Mike Corden) holds the overnight lead into what looks set to be a thrilling second day. Ramsay sits just six points clear of Commonwealth Games silver medallist Ashley Bryant (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow/Brunel Uni, Coach: Aston Moore) with 3299 to 3293 points with Commonwealth fourth placer John Lane (Club: City of Sheffield & Dearne AC, Coach: Toni Minichiello) third on 3191 as Under 23 Aiden Davies (Club: Doncaster AC, Coach: Sam Stanislaus) lies fourth just another 91 points back.
Ramsay’s 7.00 (882 pts) in the 60m saw him off to the best start as Davies and Lane both came home in 7.04 (868 pts) with Bryant setting a new PB of 7.12 (840 pts) to lie fifth.
Bryant produced a 7.43 (918pts) long jump to move into the lead in the second event as Ramsay’s 7.21 (864 pts) kept him second ahead of Lane (7.19/ 859 pts) and Davies (7.15 / 850 pts).
The Windsor, Slough and Eton athlete then extended his lead with the shot put as his personal best mark of 14.65 (768 pts) saw him move 77 points clear of Ramsay (13.58 / 703) with Lane maintaining the pressure with a 13.48 (697 pts).
A strong high jump competition then saw Ramsay go clear at 2.05 to equal his personal best and claim 850 points. This gave him the narrow advantage after four of the seven events. With Bryant and Lane both clearing 1.96 (767 pts) they completed the top three standings at the end of the Day One events as James Finney (Club: Leeds City AC, Coach: Sam Stanislaus) ended the day second U23 in fifth place overall courtesy of his 1.99 (794 pts) clearance.
Under 20 Men Heptathlon – Day One
The overnight leader in this event is Joseph Hobson (Club: City of Sheffield & Dearne AC, Coach: Mike Corden) who has led from the first event. A 7.08 (854 pts) clocking in the 60m gave him the lead ahead of Daniel Ryan (Club: Herne Hill Harriers, Coach: Garry Power, 7.21, 809 pts) with Caius Joseph (Club: Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC, Coach: Rafer Joseph) completing the top three with 7.30 (779 pts).
Hobson was again top points scorer in the long jump with 6.95 (802 pts) as Joseph moved into second with a leap of 6.67 (736 pts) and the European Youths fourth placer, Ryan, remained in the medal positions with a 6.36 (666 pts).
Continuing to set the pace Hobson recorded 13.14 (676 pts) in the shot as Ryan moved back into second with 12.92 (662 pts) and Joseph lay third after 11.43 (572 pts). Moving up the leader board before the ever-eventful pole vault was Dylan Carlsson-Smith (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Coach: Ian Grant) who was second best in this event with 12.68 (648 pts), still back in seventh but eating into the points gap to the medals.
So to the last event of day one, which often sees a shake-up to the positions. Hobson’s 3.56 was enough for 498 points and an overnight lead of just over 100 points (2830). Carlsson-Smith was one of two athletes who went clear at 4.36 to move into second place overnight with 2726. Vaults of 4.06 (634 pts) put Edinburgh AC’s Iain McEwan coached duo Howard Bell and Scott Connal third and fourth. Joseph now lies in sixth place after a 3.56 as Ryan dropped to 13th after not recording a height. But with a second day to come there is scope for many more twists and turns ahead.
You can follow Day Two results at http://resultsengland.athletics-uk.org/
Photographs Andy Chubb www.peverilphoto.com