Block busters on day 1 of our indoor Age group champs

Fantastic competition, form book wins and - as is always the case at this event - form book upsets all featured on day one of the England Athletics Open Under 20, 17 and 15 indoor champs in Sheffield.

The 60m produced such an impressive selection of amazing races and UK leading times, that it’s difficult to highlight any one. However, Amy Hunt (Club: Grantham) stands out from a swift crowd, having equalled the championship best of 7.50 in the U17G semi-final before flying to the third fastest time ever with 7.43. And perhaps more significantly it’s second to a certain Katharine Merry when it comes to 14-year-olds.

And just one race earlier, Jaleel Roper (Club: Hercules Wimbledon, Coach: Paul Miller) became the fifth fastest ever with his 7.09 clocking. In the semis he had just missed the fastest time in 2017 and just a couple of hours later he had become one of the best ever. It was that kind of Saturday; not quite Super Saturday, we’ll allow Mo, Greg and Jess to claim that as their own, but it was definitely a good one!

The first 60m final of the afternoon, the U15G, was also one to remember. The 60m heats and semis are all about stretching your legs, looking relaxed and keeping your cards closely to your chest. It was Leah Duncan (Club: Braintree, Coach: Anthony Gordon) who emerged looking the best after easing to an 8.04 clocking and then a really impressive 7.76 in the semi; the fastest time in the country this year. But with three just a stride off of this, it was clearly going to be a tight-fought final. And so it was as Duncan emerged as the champion a stride clear in 7.78.

In the men’s U17 event the semis saw the magic barrier of seven seconds broken once, and a couple of athletes coming very close - setting up what was to prove to be a fabulous final. Daniel Afolabi (Club: Sale Harriers Manchester) won his semi in 6.98, while the clock stopped on 7 seconds dead for both Adam Clayton (Club: Giffnock North AAC) and Raphael Bouju (Club: Bedford & County AC) to take victory in their respective semis. The hotly anticipated final did not disappoint as Bouju produced a scorching PB (6.88) to claim the gold, just ahead of Clayton (6.90) in Silver, and Afolabi (7.01) securing Bronze.

The U20 men ended a breath-taking afternoon of short sprints as Dominic Ashwell (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet, Coach: Marvin Rowe), ran 6.78 to head a stellar field. Behind him Oliver Bromby (Club: Southampton, Coach: Sean McDonald-Grey) just found Ashwell too strong in the final three strides but was rewarded with 6.80 as seven of the eight finalists went under seven seconds.

That strength in depth was further highlighted in the women’s race. The U20 60m was incredible as among the eight were three national record holders (Wales, Ireland and Scotland) as well as a variety of national champions. It would take something very, very special to take this title. Hannah Brier (Club: Swansea Harriers, Coach: Steve Fudge) started well and as the clock testified - 7.35 - went through the phases perfectly to win from Ireland’s Ciara Neville, 7.38. In third was Alisha Rees (Club: Edinburgh AC, Coach Willy Russell) who was rewarded with 7.45 after a 7.43 record run in the semis.

Earlier in the day, Lucy-Jane Matthews (Club: Southampton, Coach: Andy Fisher) was the first to clear 1.56 in the U15G HJ which was enough to see off the challenge of Southern Champion Rebekah O’Brien (Club: Tonbridge AC) in silver and Lily Holt (Club: Chiltern Harriers AC) who secured bronze. While in the boys’ event Sam Brereton equalled the highest jump ever by an English U15 athlete with a superb clearance of 1.90, and was agonisingly close to the 1.93 mark.

It was victory for Lucy Allen (Club: Newquay & Par AC, Coach: Clive Marsh) in the U15 pole vault with her clearance of 3.21. A new PB (3.11) secured the silver medal for Jasmine Carey (Club: Blackpool Wyre & Fylde AC, Coach: Kevin Davies).

The U20 triple jump was fantastic and really began to take shape in the second round when Teepee Princewell (Club: Harrow AC, Coach: Danny Sawyers) leapt out to a new PB of 15.16. Pre-event favourite Jude Bright-Davies (Club: TVH, Coach: David Johnson), reacted with a 15.14, setting up the competition for an intriguing last couple of closing rounds. Osaze Aghedo (Club: Swansea Harriers, Coach Simon Ingram) rose to the challenge with a 14.94 in the fourth round, which prompted Bright-Davies to instantly reply with 15.29 and take the lead. Aghedo edged fractionally closer in round five but couldn’t close that gap on the leaders and it was left to one time leader Princewell who fought hard but could only reach 14.92 with the last jump of the competition.

Holly Mills (Club: Andover, Coach: James Coney) soared out to 6.15 but in this competition she had to as Eleanor Broome (Club: Rugby and Northampton, Coach: Ian Roberts), who opened her account with 6.10, and Lucy Hadaway (City of York, Matt Barton) who recorded a new PB of 6.07, had plenty to say about where the gold medal was heading*. Mills has been the U17 champion for the past two years to it was an encouraging move to the older age group for the Andover athlete.

Equally enthralling was the U20 pole vault. Defending champion Jessica Robinson (Club: Windsor Slough & Eton, Coach: Ellie Spain) was the first over 3.60 easily followed by Northern champion Jessica Swannack (Preston Harriers, Coach: Matt Cullen) and Molly Caudrey (Club: Cornwall AC, Coach: Stephen Caudrey), the UK No.1 in 2017. In total, five moved on to the next height of 3.75 which Caudrey cleared at the first time of asking as did Fiona Hockey (Club: Blackpool Wyre & Fylde AC, Coach: Ed Thompson). Swannack also cleared this height, but last year’s winner Robinson departed, leaving three to take on 3.90 and fight it out for the title. Caudrey went clear, again at the first time of asking and that was enough to win. She then moved the bar to 4.05 and soared over at the second time of asking. The European Junior qualifying height of 4.15 was understandably next on the agenda given the way she soared over 4.05, but that proved too much - just - on this occasion.

The U17B high jump saw the bar rise to 2.08 for Dominic Ogbechie (Club: Highgate Harriers, Coach: Marius Guie) to have a crack at the UK age 14 record. He was over at the first attempt, but just grazed the bar so agonisingly saw it drop to the mat. The second was even closer but he had to be content with his soaring 2.04 clearance. More, it seems, is not far away.

Also in the field Josh Woods (Club: Dacorum and Tring) was the early leader in the first event of the weekend, the U17B triple jump with a great 13.00m in the second round. The Southern champion, who has a best of 13.06m, led throughout the competition and was a comfortable winner with Finlay Campbell (Club: Wigan, Coach: Carl Foster) picking up silver with 12.23m.

Other superb performances to note came in the U17G long jump where Ore Adamson (Club: Herne Hill Harriers, Coach: Dr Les Johnson) got things under way in the long jump with a 5.79 opener, just 1cm shy of her recent PB. Behind her Pippa Earley (Club: Kingston AC & Poly Harriers, Coach: John Shepherd /Lloyd Cowan), 5.72 and Talia Morton-Kemsley (Club: Dacorum & Tring AC, Coach: James Wright) 5.52 made for a great competition. Serena Vincent (City of Portsmouth, Coach: Andrew Vincent / Bronwen Carter) sealed a tremendous first day by winning the U17G shot put with 14.51, the third furthest ever.

Day two starts tomorrow morning at 10am and we’ll be tweeting all day plus there will be an extensive report at the end of play, so see you then!

Lots of pictures and video clips on our twitter account @englandathletic

*Following the conclusion of the England Athletics Indoor Age Group Championships a review of the result of the U20 Women’s Long Jump event decided that the first round jump of Mayah Charles was incorrectly recorded. The result has been changed to reflect the decision. England Athletics would like to thank Mayah Charles and her coach Nigel Kesteven for their understanding through this process.