England athletes impress in Iceland

This weekend saw England Athletics send its first team to the Reykjavik International Games.

The game is one of Iceland’s largest sporting events with nearly 2000 competitors participating in 15 sports and from more than 40 countries around the world.

The day started well with both Ronnie Wells (Club: Bournemouth, Coach James Hillier) and Finette Agyapong (Club: Newham & Essex Beagles, Coach: Coral Nourrice) winning their respective 60m. Wells blistering start in his 60m semi-final took him to a season’s best 6.73 seconds. Agyapong produced a strong finish in her 60m semi-final, also winning, in a comfortable 7.51 seconds.

Meanwhile in the field events, England had James Lelliott (Club: Bournemouth, Coach Brian Camp) and Jack Roach (Club: Newham & Essex Beagles, Coach Sam Stanislaus) competing in the men’s Long Jump and Ashleigh West (Club: Medway & Maidstone, Coach Graham Ravenscroft) making her senior England debut in the women’s high jump. Both events provided high calibre competition. In the men’s Long Jump, Lelliott and Roach jumped seasons best with Lelliott taking the win with a distance of 7.57m and Roach placing second with 7.37m. Ashleigh started the women high jump competition in great form, sailing over her first few heights we ease and showing her potential. She finished the day with 1.73m and showed promise of plenty more to come this season.

Back on the track, Tom Somers (Club: Newham & Essex Beagles, Coach Benke Blomkvist) led from start to finish in the men’s 400m A race and recorded a time of 48.13 seconds. Somers showed his experience in coping with the track’s tight bends and high banks to run a controlled, mature race.

Scott Lincoln (Club: City of York, Coach Paul Wilson) making an incredible 20th England Senior international appearance, showed his class and dominated the field in the shot put. Although only officially recording a best of 18.54m, Lincoln produced two massive throws well in excess of 19m, which unfortunately on this occasion didn’t count, but showed he is in great shape going into the British trials this coming weekend.

Back on the track and another England Senior debut saw Archie Davis (Club: Brighton Phoenix, Coach Joel Kidger) compete in a very strong field in the men’s 1500m. Davis took the race out from the beginning setting strong pace for the field but was unable to maintain the lead. Davis finished 3rd in a time of 3:47.73 minutes behind two strong Icelandic internationals.

The final field event for the day saw Josie Oliarnyk (Club: Halesowen, Coach Dominic McNeillis) competing in the Women’s Long Jump. Oliarnyk produced a strong jump series finishing 2nd with a best of 6.11m, close to her season’s best.

The final two events for the day for the England team saw Ronnie Wells (coach James Hillier) and Finette Agyapong (Coral Nourrice) compete once again in the 60m finals. Wells again got a strong start in the men’s 60m, but on this occasion was just pipped to the post by one of the USA representatives, Marcellus Moore, but claimed second place in a time of 6.77 seconds ahead of the second of the Americans. Agyapong continued her fine form from the semi-final claiming the women’s 60m title in a time of 7.47 seconds.

Elsewhere on the track Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Coach Jon Bigg) competed in the Women’s 800m A race as an independent athlete. Oskan-Clarke run a very controlled race, leading from start to finish and winning in a season’s best time of 2:04.20 mins

Team Leader Scott Grace said “I am very pleased with the team’s performance. This is the first time we have brought a team to the Reykjavik International Games and I was impressed with the calibre of competition.

“We had a good balance of experienced athletes such as Scott Lincoln competing in his 20th Senior international and a few athletes making their senior international debut’s. I am very excited to see how these athlete progress for the rest of the indoor season. I would also like to thank the team staff for the great support on this trip.”

Team Staff for the Trip: Scott Grace (Team Leader) Andy Day (Team Manager), Peter Griffiths (Team Coach – Sprints), Tom Craggs (Team Coach - Endurance), Jade Surman (Team Coach – Jumps), Dan Nicholls (Team Physio).