New heights reached and fast times set at the England Athletics U23 & U20 Championships
There were new championship records set in two high jump events as a superb day of competition at Bedford culminated in a series of fast 100m finals at the end of the afternoon. With strong performances across a range of events on the track and in the field there was always plenty of great action to be watching as the action unfolded.
Morgan Lake (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Aston Moore) went clear first time at a new championship record of 1.94 in the high jump to remove Michelle Dunkley’s mark that had stood since 2000. Morgan commented, “I’m really, really happy. I kept checking the weather all week and I thought, I know Bedford’s a great place to jump. If the wind’s fine and it’s going to be hot, it’s going to be a good day.
“I was hoping for this. The last few competitions, I’ve been jumping 1.90, 1.85 and I knew that I had that little more in me. “That’s a world qualifier, which I was hoping for this season, so hopefully it’s top two at the trials and off to London. That would be amazing.”
Behind her Kate Anson (Liverpool Harriers & AC, Mike Sweeney) and Emily Borthwock Wigan & District H & AC, Fuzz Caan) both cleared 1.77 with the Liverpool athlete taking the silver.
Chris Kandu, (Enfield Haringey, Fuzz Caan) took the men’s U23 title and a new championship record with a jump of 2.25, one centimetre off his indoor best. He commented, “I was hoping to get a new PB today – 2.28m or 2.30m was the aim. I felt good going into it, but there’s still a few things I need to work on, although it’s second comp of the year, so more time.
“My training partners are good, they push me in training and they’ve done well to medal today, but it would have been nice to have some competitiveness to drag me over some higher heights, but that will come and I’ve got some good competitions coming up.
“I’m off to Belgium next week, then British trials, then the U23s. London’s the main goal if I can get a qualifying height in the next competitions.”
Akin Coward (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Paul Harrison) and William Grimsey (Woodford Green AC with Essex Ladies, Carol Jackson) took joint silver on 2.09 with a total of four athletes clear at that height.
It was a scorching 10.12 personal best (+0.2) for Ojie Edoburun (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Jonas Taiwah Dodoo) as he charged through the field and across the line to take the Under 23 title. Reuben Arthur (Enfield & Haringey AC, Ryan Freckleton) also gave his previous 10.30 personal best a hefty revision with a 10.18 silver medal winning performance. Joseph Dewar (Woodford Green AC with Essex Ladies, Gladys Bird) also set a PB of 10.26 in third. Ojie said, “You have to come into a race thinking that you’re going to win. I didn’t feel like my rounds were that impressive – I had some issues with the false starts and I saw Reuben run very fast in the semis, so I knew I had to just focus on my lane and do what I have to do.
“I’ve been working on my start so much in training. It’s still yet to come together, but I’m really happy with how I’m finishing my race now and that showed. I don’t know how down I was, but I’m confident in my top end speed and it prevailed today, so I’m very pleased with myself.
“I’ve finally got a world standard, which I’ve been looking for since my first race of the season. I’ve had windy race after windy race, Loughborough, America, anywhere, you name it, so I’m very thankful to God that I finally got a legal wind. I’m looking forward to trials and punching my ticket to London. It’s going to be a great race.”
Daryll Neita (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Jonas Taiwah Dodoo) came away with the women’s U23 gold in revising her PB down to 11.20 (+1.1). Diani Walker (Birchfield H, Lloyd Cowan, 11.56) and Clieo Stephenson (Thames Valley, Laura Turner-Alleyne, 11.70) took silver and bronze respectively.
Daryll said, “It was perfect conditions today here at Bedford. I’ve had a bit of a rocky season so far, with an injury a few weeks ago, and I really wanted to run the qualifying for the World’s here today. So I’m really happy that I got a PB and qualifying and now it’s on to trials.”
Romell Glave (Croydon Harriers, Paul Weston) flew through the line in 10.21, repeating the time from his semi-final, to win the U20 100m title ahead of Oliver Bromby (Southampton AC, Sara/Gary McDonald Gray, 10.31) and Dominic Ashwell (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Marvin Rowe, 10.36).
Kristal Awuah (Herne Hill) won the U20 women’s 100m in an impressive 11.61 (+0.2) another personal best as she edged out Olivia Okoli (Guildford & Godalming AC, 11.64) and Ebony Carr (Marshall Milton Keynes AC, Mike Leonard) took bronze in 11.84. Kristal said, “I expected to get the time, but to be honest I was more looking for a clean race, a good time and expected the win. It was survival of the fittest! Next stop European Juniors.”
Jess Judd (Chelmsford AC, Mike Judd) accelerated away from the field in the U23 1500 to finish in 4:21.78 ahead of Amy Griffiths (Aldershot Farnham & District AC, Mick Woods/Rob Griffiths, 4:26.85) and bronze medallist Megan Davies (Sale Harriers Manchester, Paul Roden, 4:28.64). Jess said,
“It was ok. I wanted to take it on with about 500m to go, but it was a lot slower than I thought and I was pretty tired from Wednesday [4:05.20 PB at Watford], so I just wanted to do as little as possible then, really see what I could do over the last lap. I was hoping to get under 60 and, although I didn’t quite do it, it was really good practice. My speed’s something I really need to work on, so it was nice.
“The trials are the biggest thing, in two weeks and up until then it’s just making sure I feel rested and recovered as much as I can.
“For the U23s, I was thinking of the 5k, but the way the 1500m has been going, I’m really happy with it. That’s why I wanted to come here and give myself an opportunity to do which one I choose. I’ll wait and see until after trials, but at least I’ve got something to go to. I’ve got the European U23s and the World Universities. We’ll see what happens, but the 1500m is really competitive this year.”
Jemma Reekie (Kilbarchan AAC, Andy Young) held off Harriet Knowles-Jones (Warrington AC, Paul Roden) to claim the U20 1500m in 4:18.39 to 4:19.06. Amelia Quirk (Bracknell AC, Beverley Kitching) who had made the early running secured bronze.
James Whiteaker (Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC, Nigel Whiteaker) not only claimed gold in the U20 men’s javelin but also erased the championships record on Mark Roberson in the process with his throw of 74.64. James said, “Today was all about getting automatic qualifying for the European Juniors, so I was happy to win today and 74.64m is the second furthest throw I’ve ever done, so I’m delighted.
“Next week I’ve got the European Team Champs in Lille, my first senior international, so I’m buzzing for that and then on to England Schools and European Juniors.”
Behind James it was a tight battle for the other medals as Sam Dean (Sale Harriers) took silver with 62.65 and Adam Boyle (Victoria Park City Of Glasgow, Karen Costello) the bronze with 62.44.
Among the other track results on Day One, with many finals to be held on Day Two, Phil Crout (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Phil O'Dell) moved to the front of the U23 5000m in the latter stages and controlled the race before kicking clear of Ben Bradley (Aldershot Farnham & District AC, Craig Winrow) to retain his title in 14:39.55 to 14:41.32. Linton Taylor (Newark AC) claimed bronze in 14:44.22. Ben Dijkstra (Leicester Coritanian AC, Alan Maddocks) won the U20 3000m in 8:27.56 ahead of Sol Sweeney (Perth Strathtay Harriers, Cat Tavendale) and Alasdair Kinloch (Tonbridge AC, Mark Hookway) with 16-year-old Thomas Keen (Cambridge & Coleridge, Mark Vile) just out of the medals.
The U20 and U23 men’s steeplechase finals were won by Will Battershill (Erme Valley Harriers, Jason Saretsky) 9:13.57 and Dan Jarvis (Liverpool Harriers & AC, Mick Woods) in 8:59.46 respectively.
Jake Norris (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Paul Dickenson) took the U20 men’s hammer title with an impressive 10m winning margin courtesy of his winning throw of 77.67. Other winners in the throws were George Evans (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Colin McCulloch) with 16.39 in the U20 shot and George Armstrong (Newham & Essex Beagles, Zane Duquemin) in the U23 discus.
Ireland’s Michaela Walsh (Swinford) won the hammer and shot double with distances of 62.62 (just shy of her Irish record) and a new Irish record of 16.13. Divine Oladipo (Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC, John Hillier) and Sophie Merritt (Southampton AC, Dave Callaway/Brian Korn) took the other medals in the shot with 15.72 and 14.56 respectively. In the hammer Katie Lambert (Kidderminster & Stourport, Steve Pearson, 55.88) and Anna Purchase (Notts AC, Rob Careless, 55.76) took silver and bronze.
Other field results included Joel Leon Benitez (Notts AC) being clear winner of the U20 pole vault with his 5.20. Naomi Ogbeta (Trafford AC, Sam Stanislaus) took the U20 triple jump with 13.36 (+3.8) ahead of Emily Gargan (Gateshead Harriers & AC, 12.64 (+1.0)), and Eavion Richardson (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Craig Andrew, 12.48, +3.3). Sarah McCarthy (Mid Sutton AC) won the U23 long jump with 6.23 (+2.1) from Danielle Gifford (Wigan & District H & AC, Sharon Walls, 6.08 (+0.6)).
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