Middle distance magic and 400m medals for England on Day 2 of the Commonwealth Youth Games

Day 2 saw English interest in the 1500m finals, men's 400m Hurdles semis, both one lap flat finals and the men's long jump final. And Day 2's session of action resulted in a 1500m bronze for Lyla Belshaw, and silver and bronze in the 400m for Charlotte Henrich and Alex Beck respectively.

400m hurdles

First track event of day 2 was the 400m Hurdles semi finals. Oliver Parker (coach: James Wright, club: Rugby and Northampton AC) went in the second semi final of the 400 hurdles – a clean even start and controlled race throughout to take second with a new PB of 53.32 and automatic qualification for tomorrow’s final.


Both 1500m races were dominated by the Kenyan team who took the early lead and never relinquished those positions. Both English athletes – Lyla Belshaw (David Smith, Colchester Harriers) and Annie Mann (James Mann, Winchester and District AC) - were holding on directly behind the leading group. At the bell it was the bronze medal position that was the closely fought battle with Lyla keeping pace with Cherop (Uganda) and Canada’s Alexa Dow fading.

Lyla BelshawHowever, England’s Lyla Belshaw had a great finishing sprint and was able to split the African contingent to take the bronze and record a new PB of 4.16.37. Team mate Annie took 8th. Indeed all three medallists broke the previous CYG record which shows what a quality race it was.

Lyla told us after the race,

“It felt really good to win a medal, I’m surprised but really happy. I think not going right off with them at the start was the best idea and then I was happy with my last 200m as well. The CYG experience is one of the best things I have ever done and really enjoyable.”

Listen to her full interview video

It was a similar story in the men’s event with Kenya dominating and all medallists beating the previous record time . William Rabjohns (Mark Pauley, Poole AC) finished in a very creditable 5th behind a late comeback from the Australian athlete – and set himself a new PB of 3.46.46.

Long Jump

Sam Wright was England’s only representative in the scheduled field events on day 2. He produced a consistent set of results in the long jump, and although he just made it through the cut for the second three attempts, it was his first attempt that he couldn’t better throughout the evening - and he finished 8th with 6.93m.


Last up on the track for the women was the 400m final.

"I am not really good at dealing with pressure but I’ve had some incredible coaches who have really helped me." said England's medal hope Charlotte Henrich.

Charlotte HenrichAnd it was a sprint silver for Charlotte after a close-run 400m race. All the way around to the final home straight it looked like it could be anyone’s win and with 50m to go, Charlotte and Guyana’s Tianna Springer had gained a couple of metres from the rest of the field and it was a battle for top spot. Charlotte took a silver, just a tenth of a second behind the gold medallist. On that close result –

“I know I gave it my all, I couldn’t feel my legs, so I’m good with silver. Winning silver is really incredible – I didn’t think I’d even get to the final so I’m really happy with that."

A late recall for a false start delayed proceedings for the final event of the night - the men's 400m. After the Indian athlete was issued with a yellow card, the second start was then delayed due to unsettled athletes - but finally they were off cleanly. Alexander Beck looked like he gained well on the first bend, continued to run the final bend well and sprinted in of a row of six athletes in the final 60m – a surge at the very end and a photofinish gave him the bronze medal with a time of 48.20. Stanley Chevous was not far off the pace and placed 5th. When he crossed the line, Alex told us he thought he had come 4th;

“In my peripheral vision I could see the Indian chap cross the line and I thought I’m out. Then I saw the screen and my head just exploded and I looked over to my dad straight away.

Alex BeckHe continued, "I feel ecstatic. I am so proud of what I have been able to achieve. Thank you to everyone who’s helped me get here; the England staff have been so supportive, they’ve helped me, believed in me. Thanks to my dad as well for taking me to all the local meets to qualify for this."

Listen to his full interview video

"To qualify felt so amazing but this is a thousand times better than that. It’s something you dream of when you watch people on TV – maybe that could be me."

...and it was!