England retain the title at Loughborough International

It was a very successful day for England on Sunday at the Loughborough International.  Not only did we retain the title, but the competition was witness to England's Sophie McKinna (Club: Great Yarmouth/Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Coach: Mike Winch) gaining a legal World Championships qualification distance in the shot put. Paralympic champion Sophie Hahn (Club: Charnwood, Coach: Leon Baptiste) produced a storming run in Women's Para-Elite T38 100m - held alongside the International competition - to break the world record.

The England Athletics team, wearing the new Kukri-sponsored kit which was launched at the event, performed at an extremely high level to take the 2019 Loughborough International team victory with a huge margin of 48.5 points.

England Team athletes won half of the match events; Jessica Mayho (Club: Birchfield Harriers/Sheffield Hallam Uni) pulled out a winning hammer throw in the 4th round of the very first event of the day to beat Scotland's Rachel Hunter by almost a metre and set the scene for her team mates. There was also a huge personal best of 80.32m in the javelin from Harry Hughes (Club: Newham & Essex Beagles/Essex Uni, Coach: Mark Roberson) who won with 12m to spare over his closest rival; it's been over 8 years since a British male has thrown over 80m. There was a double win in the shot put with Sophie McKinna's world qualifying 18.04m and Scott Lincoln (Club: City of York/Shaftesbury Barnet, Coach: Paul Wilson) putting the 7.26k shot over a metre further than Youcef Zatat (Club: Woodford Green Essex Ladies, Coach: Scott Rider), and showing that his indoor opportunities this season wearing the England vest in Austria and Iceland has set him up well for the season.

Volunteer Technical official Barbara Charlish was judging at the women's shot put.  She said, "I am so pleased for Sophie and so proud to have been working her competition. I knew the history from the previous competition (where Sophie put 18.23m but it couldn't count as a qualifier because her County Championships had only a Level 1 permit) so I was very keen to help Sophie's dream. There was no EDM but the Field Referee Arwel Williams said it was okay to use a metal tape. Sophie was very pumped up and was second to throw, it just flew and she knew straight away it had been successful. As 18.04m was declared by the official measuring, everyone on the event applauded Sophie as well as the surrounding spectators."

Back on the track, it was a male/female double win as well in the sprint hurdles: Jessica Hunter (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet/Bedfordshire Uni, Coach: Scott Grace) was first across the line in the 100m hurdles and David King (Club: City of Plymouth, Coach: James Hillier) won the 110m hurdles by just 2/100ths of a second. It was also extremely close racing in the middle distance - Spencer Thomas (Club: Brighton Phoenix, Coach: Jon Bigg) finished his 800m 14/100ths ahead of Loughborough's James McMurray (Club: St. Albans AC/Brunel Uni, Coach: Deborah Steer) and Ellie Baker  (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet, Coach: Jon Bigg) won hers by 9/100ths of a second. And a double win for England at the 1500m distance too; Dani Chattenton (Club: Imperial College/Thames Valley, Coach: Kyle Bennett) won the women's event and Piers Copeland (Club: Wimborne/Cardiff Met Uni/Bournemouth, Coach: Bob Smith) was 1st in the international, behind AFD's Adam Clarke (Coach: Geoff Watkin) who just won on the line. Emily Moyes (Club: Aldershot, Farnham & District/St. Mary’s Uni, Coach: Mick Woods) added to the endurance event successes with a 3000m Steeplechase win after a 2nd and 3rd in her previous two Loughborough Internationals.

The jumpers also put on a great show. It was a close and exciting high jump with Tom Gale (Club: Team Bath, Coach: Denis Doyle) beating Loughborough's Will Grimsey (Club: Woodford Green Essex Ladies, Coach: Carol Jackson) on countback at 2.20m. Sam Khogali (Club: Woodford Green Essex Ladies/Loughborough Students, Coach: Femi Akinsanya) took the lead in round two of the long jump - which was peppered with no jumps due to a swirling headwind - and never relinquished it. Eavion Richardson (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet/East London Uni, Coach: Craig Andrew) was first in the women's triple jump match, behind guests Lithuanian Dovile Dzindzaletaite and Ireland's Saragh Buggy. Charlie Myers (Club: Middlesbrough (Mandale)/Northumbria Uni, Coach: Chris Boundy) and Sophie Cook (Club: Birchfield Harriers/Coventry Uni, Coach: Scott Simpson) took the men's and women's pole vault match titles, Sophie needing to take just one winning vault.

Seb Rodger (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet, Coach: Benke Blomkvist) successfully defended his 2018 Loughborough International title in the 400m hurdles in what was his 7th Loughborough International appearance. Phillipa Lowe (Club: Dacorum & Tring/Hertfordshire Uni/Shaftesbury Barnet, Coach: Deborah Keenleyside) won the flat one-lapper in her fist outdoor race of the season.

And the events closed full circle with a win for England's 4x400m relay team of Lina Nielsen (Club: Enfield & Haringey/Queen Mary & Westfield College, Coach: Ryan Freckleton), Susanna Banjo (Club: Newham & Essex Beagles/Birmingham Uni), Jessie Knight (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow/Loughborough Students, Coach: Marina Armstrong), and Ella Barrett (Club: Chesterfield/Sheffield Uni, Coach: John Henson).

new England kit from Kukri

Team results

  • England: 210 points
  • Loughborough: 161.5 points
  • Great Britain Under 20s: 142 points
  • Scotland: 116 points
  • BUCS: 115 points
  • Wales: 86.5 points

Click here for full event results.

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Photo of Sophie McKinna by Mark Shearman