This weekend, a strong Blackheath and Bromley Harriers AC team headed to Italy to compete in the 2023 Dynamic New Athletics (DNA) U20 Clash of Clubs event. Representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the team were hoping to put down a series of strong performances and enjoy this new and exciting competition format.
For those of you who might be new to Dynamic New Athletics, the event lasts 2.5 hours with mixed gender teams competing in a fast-paced sequence of events. Every performance counts, with 12 points being awarded for first place down to two points for sixth. The last event, a staggered relay called the Hunt, determines the winning team.
Saturday was all about qualification with the first three teams in each pool advancing to the A final while the remaining teams would compete in the B final. The athletes from Blackheath and Bromley performed admirably and after the first eleven events, they were in the lead, meaning they would start first in the Hunt.
The quartet of Cameron Kelly-Gordon, Indiana Marshall, Tommy Owler and Thomas Sugden put up a good fight but in the end they were hunted down by the Spanish, Danish and Italian club teams meaning they missed out on a place in the A final by less than half a second.
After a tough day of competition on the Saturday, the Blackheath and Bromley athletes showed no signs of fatigue on the Sunday. The track athletes dominated, all finishing in the top three in their respective events. Daniel Goriola took first place in the 110m hurdles in a time of 13.87. Similarly, Luke Dronfield won the 400m hurdles in a time of 55.18 while Jodie Self improved the Personal Best she set the day before in the qualification round to win the 100m hurdles in a time of 14.10. Faith Akinbileje was also dominant in her event, winning the 100m by over half a second in a time of 11.77.
The field athletes were equally as impressive with Daisy Snell comfortably winning the long jump with a final mark of 5.65m and Andrew Nikoro finishing second in the high jump. His best clearance of the day was 1.75m in round two. In the shot put, Brydon Duncan threw a new personal best of 13.54m, backing this up with another throw of 13.36m and adding six points to the team’s tally.
After the strong performances in both the track and the field, Blackheath and Bromley headed into the Hunt in first place, giving them a 3.30 second advantage ahead of the Irish Team from Ratoath AC and 11.22 seconds over Germany’s TYG Eagles.
Cameron Kelly-Gordon was the first athlete to carry the baton for the club, setting a strong pace over her 600m leg. By the time Kelly-Gordon handed over to Maurizio Corrodus, she had actually extended the lead over the Ratoath AC athlete as well as the rest of the field. Corrodus maintained the lead over the fast-chasing Irish team on his 400m leg, as did Faith Akinbileje over 200m. With the longest leg still to run, it looked like a two-horse race to the finish between the British and Irish clubs.
Arthur Starvis worked hard over the first lap but was being hunted down by Jack O’Donnell of Ratoath AC. With 400m to go, it was neck and neck. O’Donnell made the first move passing Starvis with 300m to go. Starvis responded and moved onto the shoulder of O’Donnell round the final bend. With 150m to go O’Donnell kicked hard to gain a 3m advantage over the Blackheath and Bromley athlete but Starvis wasn’t done yet. With 100m to go Starvis moved wide and closed in on O’Donnell but in the end the Ratoath AC athlete had the strength to hang on and took victory for his club and country in the final event of the day.
The overall winners
With the winner of the B final decided, it was the turn of the clubs who had qualified for the A final to take to the track. As was the case with the earlier event, it was a thrilling few hours of action with just three seconds separating the top three teams heading into the Hunt. In the end it was the Spanish club, Playas Castellon, who emerged victorious.
There is no doubt that all the athletes involved in the event across the weekend can look back on their performances with pride and those from Blackheath and Bromley are no exception. The team fought hard for every place and did exceptionally well against a tough pool of competition.View full results
- 100m: Faith Akinbileje (coach: John Blackie)
- 800m: Hannah Clark (coach: Andy Frankish) and Cameron Kelly-Gordon
- 100m hurdles: Jodie Self (coach: Karl Sumun)
- Long Jump: Daisy Snell
- Javelin: Jessie Sargeant (coach: Alex Pope)
- 200m: Clayton Jacinto (coach: Craig Andrew)
- 110m hurdles: Daniel Goriola (coach: Tony Jarrett)
- 400m hurdles: Luke Dronfield (coach: Marina Armstrong)
- High Jump: Andrew Nikoro
- Shot Put: Brydon Duncan (coach: John Hillier)
- 4x400m: Alyssa Firla (coach: Roy Dickens), James Lawson (coach: Jeffrey Lawal-Balogun), Gabriella Martin (coach: Nigel Stickings) and Sam Mowa.
- The Hunt: Faith Akinbileje (coach: John Blackie), Cameron Kelly-Gordon, Maurizio Corrodus (coach: Roy Dickens), Indiana Marshall (coach: John Shepherd), Tommy Owler, Arthur Starvis, and Thomas Sugden (coach: Jay Galley)
Team image: Brydon Duncan
Faith Akinbileje image: Mark Shearman