The first England Athletics Championships of 2022 sees some of the country’s top combined-eventers in action at the EIS Arena in Sheffield on Saturday and Sunday (8th and 9th January).
Titles will be fought out at both senior and under-20 level, the men in the heptathlon and women in pentathlon.
Due to the pandemic, this will be the first chance for most of the athletes to compete indoors in nearly two years. The meeting will also incorporate 3000m race walks and a British Milers' Club programme.
Senior men's heptathlon
The heptathlon features three of the top four scorers in decathlons held in the UK last year.
Lewis Church (Tonbridge; David Hull) will clearly be a strong challenger. He ranked second in the decathlon last summer with his 7545 PB. As well as winning the England title, he was second in the British Championships behind Tim Duckworth. He and his training partner Harry Kendall (Tonbridge; David Hull) will be continuing their friendly and close rivalry. Kendall was one place behind Church at both the England Championships and British Championships. Harry Maslen (Ilkley; Sam Stanislaus) was fourth at the British Championships last year and has a decathlon best of 7496, so should be another threat.
Scotland’s Callum Newby was top in the junior decathlon at the England Athletics Championships last year and will be hoping for a smooth transition into the senior ranks. Others likely to be in amongst it include Liam Reveley (Jarrow & Hebburn; Liane Evans), who was sixth last time out in these championships, Caius Joseph (Basingstoke & Mid Hants; Rafer Joseph), a former England U20 decathlon silver medallist, and Elliot Thompson (Enfield & Haringey; Greg Richards), who was third in the England Athletics Challenge last summer.
Under-20 men's heptathlon
Sammy Ball (Reading; Michael Dyer) dominated the under-17 octathlon at the last England Athletics Championships of 2021 and it will be intriguing to see what impression he makes on his first year in the new age group. On that occasion, were it not for picking up an injury which led to a pole vault no-height, he would surely have become the first British under-17 to score 7000 points in the decathlon.
Looking to challenge will be Adam Hoole (Team East Lothian), who won silver in the England Athletics U20 decathlon last summer. Oliver Adnitt (Kingston upon Hull; John Brant), who was third at the English Schools last year, could be a threat too. Meanwhile, George Asprey (Aldershot, Farnham & District, Rafer Joseph) was seventh in the England Athletics U20 decathlon last year and will be hopeful of getting nearer the medals.
Senior women's pentathlon
Jo Rowland (Crawley; Lueng Man) scored 4111 when she last competed in a pentathlon in 2020 and a similar score here should put her in contention for the medals. Amaya Scott-Rule (Southampton; Matthew Watson) returns having been second junior here three years ago and she made good progress in her first senior season last summer with a heptathlon PB of 5516. Laura Darcey (Kingston & Poly; Richard Holt) is another who should threaten the top places, having scored 3794 in her last pentathlon in 2020.
Ireland’s Anna McCauley will be looking to move up from second in these championships two years ago. She was also second at the England Athletics Combined Events Challenge at Sport City last summer, improving her PB in the heptathlon to 5318. Clearly a rising talent, she will be hoping to make another mark in Sheffield. Two Welsh athletes who will also be looking to make an impact are Lauren Evans and Lauren Davey, who were third and fourth respectively in the Challenge.
Under-20 women's pentathlon
Abigail Pawlett (Trafford) will be favourite to claim her 13th England Athletics title. The athlete who was seventh in the heptathlon at the European Athletics Junior Championships last year will be defending her title and will surely improve on the 3962 she scored on that occasion in 2020.
Zara Tyas (Stockport T&F) made quite an impact last summer on her combined events debut. She finished fourth behind Pawlett at the England Athletics Championships heptathlon and will be hoping to be in among the medals on this occasion. Another athlete from the prolific Stockport T&F stable is Katie Burr. She will be hoping to challenge here, having won bronze at under-17 level in the England Championships indoors and outdoors in 2019.
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Please note: we are requesting everyone attending to do a lateral flow test before coming and a face covering should be worn when not warming up or competing.