The Irish Schools’ AA hosted a high class SIAB (Schools International Athletics Board) Track and Field international in Dublin, showcasing top British talent from across the home countries in the U17 age group. In gorgeous conditions, albeit very windy, the English Schools’ team were victorious in both the boys’ and girls’ team competitions, with outstanding performances by athletes across all four teams.
The sprints were into a huge headwind, at times registering over 7m/s, and Patience Jumbo Gula (Irish Schools) beat a high class field in the Girls’ 100m. The 200m and 300m were won by English athletes, Kiah Dubarry-Gay (Club: Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets, Alf Vickers) and Hannah Foster (Shaftesbury Barnet, Craig Andrew) respectively, in challenging conditions.
The medals in the Boys’ sprints were shared by English and Welsh athletes, Daniel Afolabi (Sale Harriers Manchester, James Roughneen) of England prevailing in the 100m, and Owain Lloyd-Hughes of Wales winning the 200m, and English athlete Ethan Brown (Blackheath & Bromley, Lloyd Cowan) winning the 400m, all in similarly strong headwinds to the girls.
All relays were won by England, with the exception of the girls’ 4×100, in which a very powerful Irish team led the way in front of a fervent crowd and a very excited commentator. There were some very impressive runs in the middle distance races. Emily Williams (Kettering, Shane Smith) ran a very mature and disciplined race to win the 800m. Emily’s friend Ella McNiven (Liverpool Harriers, Lynn Webb) won the 3000m by 22 seconds, in a fine 9.46.87. The 1500m steeplechase saw both gold and silver medals won by Millfield school pupils, Elise Thorner (Wells) and Amelia Wills (Bracknell AC / Millfield School, Paul Daly) respectively.
Max Burgin (Halifax, Brian Burgin) was one of several English athletes to reverse the finishing order from the ESAA champs held a week earlier, winning a fine 800m from Oliver Dustin (Border, Graeme Mason). Thomas Keen (Cambridge & Coleridge, Mark Vile) dominated the 3000m and Adam Searle (Rugby & Northampton, Michael Lewis) won a close 1500m steeplechase with a tactically perfect race.
The hurdles were dominated by English athletes, Joshua Zeller (Bracknell AC / Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Ken Spencer) and Marcia Sey (Croydon, Lorna Boothe) won the sprint hurdles, and the longer hurdles were won by Jasmine Jolley (Preston, Paul Noblet) and Ben Lloyd (Shaftesbury Barnet, Stanley Madiri), who was competing in his second SIAB.
In the jumps, conditions were very challenging for many athletes, with severe cross and tailwinds making consistency impossible. The pole vault competitions saw impressive performances by English athletes, Boys’ captain Frankie Johnson (Bedford & County, Simon Eastwood) clearing an impressive 4.61m into a strong wind, and Felicia Miloro (Sutton-in-Ashfield/Notts, Maxine Robbins) beating her colleague Victoria Barlow (Sale Harriers Manchester, Matt Cullen) on countback with 3.61m. Both Ore Adamson (Herne Hill Harriers, Les Johnson) and Dominic Ogbechie (Highgate, Marius Guei) won their long jump competitions, benefitting from favourable winds. Ore cleared 6m for the first time, and Dominic jumped 7m33. Jazz Sears (Shaftesbury Barnet, Craig Andrew) and Stephen Mackenzie of Scotland were fine winners in the triple jump, managing strong winds well. The High jump was also dominated by England, with Temi Ojora (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Alan Hewson) in the girls’ and Ben Saunders (Birchfield Harriers, Paul Harrison) in the boys’ showing great discipline in tough conditions.
The throws saw some fine performances; the Boys’ and Girls’ Shot Put events were won by English athletes returning for their second SIAB, George Hyde (West Cheshire) and Hannah Molyneaux (Lincoln Wellington, Malcolm Fenton) respectively. Tom Hewson (Andover, Mark Bradford) – another SIAB veteran – threw a huge PB to win the boys’ javelin with 68m, with Irish athlete Kate O’Conner taking the honours in the girls’ event. The discus and hammer were all won by English athletes; Heather Cubbage (City of Portsmouth, Graham Arnold) and Philip Bartlett (South London, Philip Hartnett), and Tara Simpson-Sullivan (Wigan & District, Robert Halliwell) and Ben Hawkes (Worthing/Brighton & Hove, Eric Davison) respectively.
The David Littlewood memorial awards for the outstanding performances by English Athletes were won by 800m runner Emily Williams, and Long Jumper Dominic Ogbechie.