A T38 world best performance from Sophie Hahn (Club: Charnwood AC; Coach: Joseph McDonnell) in the 200m was the standout performance from the four Disability Open sprint races to be held alongside the second day of the England Athletics Senior and U20 Combined Events Championships at Bedford. There were also thrilling competitions in the combined events as the Senior and Under 20 championships all reached their finale.
Sophie, Paralympic and World champion over 100m, showed that she is equally adept at the longer sprint as she heads towards this summer’s IPC World Championships in London, clocking 26.20 to cross the line in first place, with T20 Faye Olszowka (Bexley; Tony Garrett) second in 29.38.
In the men’s 200m Graeme Ballard (Wigan and District; Trevor Painter) was also in fine form as he sped to 24.93, a personal best and his first time under 25 seconds with a legal wind. It was also a world leading time in the T36 classification and sets the 2016 European 100m silver medalist up well to add to his international championships medal collection later this summer.
Senior Women Heptathlon
Niamh Emerson (Amber Valley; David Feeney) moved to fifth on the British Junior all time list with 5801 points, as she took a memorable victory over Commonwealth medalist Jess Taylor-Jemmett (Sale Harriers Manchester; Mike Holmes) in her first ever senior heptathlon.
Having sat in first place overnight, the 2016 European Youth bronze medalist never relinquished her lead, producing both the furthest long jump (6.05m) and fastest 800m (2:12.70) in the competition, and comfortably hit qualification criteria for the European Junior Championships in the process.
Defending champion Taylor-Jemmett was consistent in second place, scoring 5674 points, while Lucy Turner (Gateshead Harriers; Sam Stanislaus) moved from 4th on day one to take bronze (a personal best 5436 points) thanks to a strong long jump and 800m, with Jess Tappin (Thames Valley; Mike Holmes) missing out on a medal largely due to a below par long jump.
Senior Men Decathlon
Unlike in the heptathlon, the overnight lead did change hands in the senior men’s decathlon, as James Finney (Leeds City; Sam Stanislaus) overhauled Peter Moreno (WSEH; Neil Dodson) in the penultimate event, the javelin. Finney’s 54.01m throw secured 648 points, more than 100 more than Moreno could manage, allowing a relatively comfortable 1500m for the new champion.
The winning 7263 points was a huge personal best for the 2014 England Athletics junior bronze medalist, while Moreno’s 7252 was not only his own best performance ever, but a Nigerian record.
Andrew Murphy (Kilbarchan; Colin Sinclair) remained in bronze medal position throughout the day, with his 7170 points a personal best and enough to edge out Jack Andrew (Sale Harriers Manchester; Ian Grant), who was also over 7000 points for the weekend.
Under 20 Women Heptathlon
Eleven athletes contested the Under 20 women’s heptathlon and there were no changes to the overnight top three standings, as Holly McArthur (Edinburgh AC, Iain McEwan) dominated the competition to take the win.
Competing in her first heptathlon in the age group, McArthur was the only athlete to exceed 5000 points, scoring 5332 to add this title to the indoor pentathlon that she secured back in February and to set a new Scottish Junior record.
Grace Bower (Sale Harriers Manchester; Mike Holmes) was second with 4648 points and the large margin of victory was helped, in part, by a sizzling 800m by McArthur, as the Scottish athlete strode out to clock 2:14.26 in an event where the second quickest runner ran 2:26.
Bower, also new to the age group, scored 140 more points than Anya Turner of Exeter (Coach: Glenn Walpole), who picked up her first medal at an England Athletics combined events championships.
Under 20 Men Decathlon
Caius Joseph (Basingstoke; Rafer Joseph), the overnight leader, took the U20 men’s title with a personal best 6469 points ahead of Ryan Long (Poole), who managed one better than his bronze medal of last year to take silver.
Long produced arguably the best individual performance of the competition to clock 14.78 for the 110mH in the first event of the day and the 876 points that that that secured propelled him up the leaderboard and into 3rd, dislodging Joss Moffat (Rushcliffe; Macdonald Blackman) in the process.
At that stage, William Seed (Cleethorpes & District AC, Ben Frary) occupied the silver medal position, but following a sub par pole vault, he fell out of contention and Long, who also produced a strong discus, established himself in second, with Moffatt 3rd.
Positions would remain that way until the end, with all three athletes breaking the 6000 point barrier. Long scored 6316 points, while Moffatt’s efforts totalled 6066.