Junior Men’s and Women’s teams from Blackheath & Bromley Harriers travelled to Leiria in Portugal at the weekend to represent GB in the European Champion Clubs Cup Competition. Anticipating a sunny end to a long summer season, the teams were in fact met with persistent rain throughout the day, making conditions extremely challenging, especially for the throwers and vertical jumpers. They were also met with strong competition from the best club sides in Europe, including the Turkish teams from Fenerbahce, who once again took top step on the podium in both events. However, they by no means had things their own way with the lead changing hands throughout the day in both matches and the closest final results in some years.
In the women’s match, going into the final relay, although Fenerbahce only had to get the baton round to secure victory, 4 1/2 points separated the next three teams. As has been the case in recent years, the Czech team - AK Olymp Brno - fielded a solid, winning quartet and this left Blackheath & Bromley Harriers to fight it out with Spanish Club, Playas de Castellon for the final podium spot. Coming down the home straight, Castellon were clear for 2nd. So, Holly Mpassy (coach: Jay Galley), in her first year in the competition and already having secured a fine 2nd in the individual event, had to ensure she held off at least one of the chasing Slovenian and Turkish runners, for the South London club to hold onto the bronze medal team position. The result was in doubt until the last few strides, but Holly saw the team home in determined style.
Meanwhile, the men went one better to gain second place to Fenerbahce in the competition by winning a similarly exciting 4x400m, with last leg runner, Ethan Brown (coach: Lloyd Cowan), holding off the fast finishing Turkish and Spanish athletes to bring the squad home in a Club record time of 3.14.90.
Individual highlights in the women’s competition came from Marcia Sey (coach: Lorna Boothe) who was 1st in the 100mH and 2nd for 100m, 2000m steeplechaser Yasmin Austridge (coach: Nigel Stickings), Molly Walsh (coach: Paul Head) who took 2nd in the hammer and Funminiyi Olajide (coach: Geraldine Heapy, 2nd LJ and 3rd TJ) as well as a fine 4th place performance from U17 shot-putter, Nana Gyedu (coach: John Hillier), competing against girls 3 years her senior. On the men’s team, there were individual wins for Jeriel Quainoo in the 100m and Oliver Bright (coach: Nigel Stickings) in the 1500m as well as both relays. There were 2nd places for Angus Harrington (coach: Nigel Stickings, 800m), Kelechi Aguocha (HJ) and Josh Watson (coach: John Blackie, 110mH) and 3rds for Theo Adesina (coach: Karl Sumun, LJ), Alex O’Callaghan-Brown (coach: John Blackie, 400mH), Ethan Brown (400m) and Jeriel Quainoo (200m).
Our congratualtions to Blackheath & Bromley Harriers!