Naomi Ogbeta (Club: Trafford / Manchester Uni, Coach: Tom Cullen), was the stand-out performer in a strong outing by the England team in Bratislava. Naomi produced a new British U23 Indoor Triple Record of 13.52m to take victory in the women’s triple jump. This was alongside several other England athletes recording personal and season's bests.
The day started with Commonwealth Games bound Gemma Bridge (Club: Oxford City / Leeds Beckett Uni, Coach: Mark Wall) taking third in highly competitive 3000m Race Walking competition in a time of 13.28.11. Next on the track was fellow Race Walker Cameron Corbishley (Club: Medway & Maidstone, Coach: Andi Drake) who took second in the men's 5000m in a time of 20.16.44.
In the first of the hurdles races, Jess Hunter (Club: Vale of Aylesbury, Coach: Scott Grace) took second in the women’s 60m Hurdles in a season's best time of 8.53, with England team mate Stephanie Clitheroe (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow / St. Mary's Uni, Coach: Laura Turner-Alleyne), taking 7th in a time of 8.86. In the second race, Jess improved her season's best to 8.52 taking third place and Stephanie recorded a season's best of 8.75 to take 7th. In the men’s race Jake Porter (Cub: Birchfield Harriers / Birmingham Uni, Coach: Andy Paul), took victory in both men’s 60m Hurdles races with a time of 7.91 in the first race and then later dropping this to 7.87 in the second race, one one-hundredth off his personal best. James Weaver (Club: Enfield & Haringey / Oaklands College, Coach: Laura Turner-Alleyne), came 5th in the first race in 8.07, but pulled out of the second race for precautionary reasons.
In the women’s 60m Alesha Kiddle (Club: Chelmsford / St. Mary's Uni, Coach: Lloyd Cowan) and Torema Thompson (Club: Enfield & Haringey, Coach: Marvin Rowe) took first and second in both highly competitive 60m races. In the first race Alesha took first in a time of 7.50 with Torema in second in 7.55. In the second race both athletes improved on their time with Alesha taking first place in a new personal best of 7.46 and Torema recording 7.53 to take second place. Confidence Lawson (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers / Hertfordshire Uni / Track Academy, Coach: Clarence Callender / Lloyd Cowan), ran a season's best of 6.69 to finish second behind Turkish international Emre Barnes Zafer with Dominic Ashwell (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Coach: Marvin S Rowe) taking 5th in 6.82. Earlier in the day Confidence had recorded another second place in a time of 6.75 with Dominic taking 4th in a time of 6.90.
In the field Josie Oliarnyk (Club: Halesowen, Coach: Dominic McNeillis) in her first senior England outing took third place with a distance of 5.74m. Josie showed exciting promise for the rest of the season with two fractional no jumps of over 6m. In the women’s triple jump Naomi Ogbeta took the win with a new U23 British Indoor record of 13.52. England team mate Angela Barrett (Club: Thames Valley Harriers, Coach: Frank Attoh) saved her best jump until the last round - recording a distance of 12.90m to take third.
Back on the track in the women’s 400m, another England senior debutant, Emma Alderson (Club: Liverpool Harriers, Coach: Stephen Carroll) took second place, running close to her indoor PB, in a time of 55.65. In the men's 400m, Jamal Rhoden-Stevens (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers / Kingston Uni, Coach: Donovan Reid / David Serrant), run another strong 400m race taking the win in a time of 48.24, ahead of Turkish international Ahmet Kasap. James Gladman (Club: Warrington AC / Bath Uni / St. Helens Sutton, Coach: James Hillier) won the second 400m race in a new Indoor PB of 48.74.
The final few races saw the middle distance members of the England team get their chance to show their potential.
First off was Stacey Smith (Club: Gateshead / Teesside Uni, Coach: David Lowes) who dominated the women’s 1500m, winning by over 13 seconds in a comfortable time of 4:17.71. Stacey led the race from start to finish showing a controlled and experienced run. Next off was Piers Copeland (Club: Wimborne / Cardiff Met Uni, Coach: Bob Smith) competing in a fast run, highly competitive men’s 1500m. The race was a close run affair in the early laps, with the Romanian and Turkish international athletes putting out strong performances. In the last few laps these athletes showed the strength to pull away, with Piers coming home in a well-run 3rd place in a time of 3:56.35. The last run on the track saw Canaan Solomon (Club: Woodford Green Essex Ladies, Coach: Richard Thurston / Craig Winrow) compete in the men’s 800m. This race was a close-run event from start to finish, with Canaan running neck and neck with Turkish international Levent Ates. In the end Canaan was pipped to the line coming second in a time of 1:51.84 to Ates 1:51.66.
The competition finished with the men’s triple jump, which saw Lawrence Davis (Club: Enfield & Haringey, Coach: Guy Spencer) compete against a strong Turkish international athlete. Lawrence produced his best jumping in the open round with a season's best 15.27m. This was good enough to give Lawrence second place behind Necati Er who jumped 16.44m to seal the win.
Team Manager Sarah Friday said, "The Elan meeting marked a successful weekend for the England team; with promising early session results on the track and in the field. It has been equally pleasing to see the athletes support each other over the weekend and learning important lessons on and off the track that will stand them in good stead as they continue to develop on the International stage. A big thank you must also go to the team coaches and physiotherapists who have supported the athletes and worked tirelessly as a solid team."
Slovakian words in results: Muži=men, Ženy=women, Chôdza=walks, prekážok=hurdles, Skok do dialky=long jump, Trojskok=triple jump