To quote an oft-used footballing phrase, ‘it’s a game of two halves’, day two of the England Athletics Open Under 20, 17 and 15 Indoor Champs was clearly intent on living up to just that by improving on the Saturday, which itself had produced a string of UK-leading performances.
And improve it did. In a really tight fought U15 Girls 300, four entered the final bend all in contention but a great closing 50 metres from Emilia Rock (Vale of Aylesbury, Nick Taylor) saw her cross the line in a UK best of 39.72, almost 0.6sec faster than the previous mark. She broke the championship best by the best part of two seconds; indeed fourth just failed to beat that, such was the quality on show.
Also in record breaking form was Emily Thompson (Banbury Harriers, Luke Gunn/Ros Kelling) who quite simply solo ran the U20 Women’s 1500m to break the 23-year-old CBP with 4:26.09.
The record setting didn’t end there. The U15 Girls 800 saw Ruby Simpson (Hallamshire Harriers, Adam Simpson) tow the field through an opening 400m of 61.8 before being hauled back with one lap to go by teammate Emma Shipley (Steve Marshal) and winner Katie Johnson (Edinburgh, Dave Johnson), who was closer to 63 for her opening two laps. Katie powered around her final circuit to clock 2:10. 90 - a Scottish record and second fastest of all time on the UK lists.
Old marks continued to fall as in the U15 Girls 200 as Success Eduan (Sale, Anita Richardson) turned her sparkling 2019 shape in which she has set a UK best to CBP form with a 24.72 win, consigning the 18-year-old entry to the history books.
Next to get in on the act was Mia McIntosh (Dacorum & Tring, D Keeleyside) who flew to 8.77 CBP in the U15 Girls 60 hurdles.
Double champions began to appear in the late afternoon as Henry Nwoke (Liverpool H, Mike Sweeney) and Jeremiah Azu (Cardiff, Helen James) swept to victories in the U17 and U20 Men’s 200s respectively in 21.85 and 21.25 adding to their 60 golds won Saturday.
Abigail Pawlett (Stockport, Joe Frost) was also in medal haul action as she added the U17 Women’s high jump to her long jump title she won the day before with a first-time clearance and personal best 1.76. She had one go at 1.79 before heading to the 60 hurdles final, via the medal rostrum, for her next event. A busy Sunday.
And in that race, Abigail picked up silver as Lucy Jane Matthews (Southampton, Andrew Fisher/James Coney) just leaned her on the line to win in 8.48.
Joshua Zeller (Bracknell, Adrian Brown) looked superb in the final track race of the day, clocking 7.70 in the U20 Men’s 60 hurdles, a personal best and more significantly the sixth fastest time ever.
On a day of fascinating and hugely entertaining field events, three really stood out. First up was the the U20 Men’s high jump where a first time clearance and PB of 2.09 secured gold for Toni Ademuwagun (TVH, Carol Jackson). He then sailed over 2.11 on the third time of asking before calling it a day at 2.15. Appropriately enough, at the very moment Toni was thanking the officials for their work, last year’s high jump sensation (he cleared 2.22 in Sheffield in 2018 for a world age group best), Dominic Ogbechie (Highgate H, Marius Guei/John Herbert) opened his U20 Men’s long jump series with a PB of 7.59, looking like he could improve on that following a marginal foul in the second round. Three bigger fouls followed until his final jump which was a long looking effort in the 7.60 range, but like his second jump, it was a marginal foul and sadly, it wasn’t to be on this occasion. Clearly he is a huge talent with plenty of promise and now the owner of an U20 gold to go with the U15 and U17 titles he’s won indoors and out.
Then, in the space of four action-packed minutes, the U20 Women’s high jump literally sprung into life as three cleared 1.77. Nobody could go any higher so it was Amaya Scott (Southampton, Matthew Watson) who took the gold on count back thanks to her first time clearance at that height.
Back on the track, impressive front running saw Yusuf Bizimana (Victoria Park H, Jeffrey Nkrumah) take the U20 Men’s 800 in 1:52.19 after leading through 400 (55.4) and 600 (1:23.8). He stretched away in the final 200 to win comfortably. The U17 Women’s 800 was slightly closer, but Zakia Mossi (Blackheath and Bromley, Philip Kissi) looked in total control over the final lap to cross the line in 2:12.28 after an opening 400m of 63.5. As was Benjamin Reynolds (Cardiff, Arwyn Davies) who won the U17 Boys 800 as he ran negative splits to put together a 58.0/57.6 combination for 1:55.69.
However, king of the finishes on what was a pretty dramatic afternoon had to be Remilekun Adebiyi (Newport, Darry McAtee) who turned on the turbo for the final 200 of the U20 Men’s 1500, clocking 25.1 to win in 3:58.67. That final circuit would be an impressive time on its own, let alone with a seven-lap build-up!
Definitely one to watch in the future is age 14 record holder Mario Dobrescu (Ilford, Nat Senior) who smashed his personal best with 48.91 to win the U17 Men’s 400, comfortably quicker than the following U20 Men’s race.
William Lamprell (Ipswich H) opened the shot and day two in style with a mightily impressive second round 14.72 in U15 Boys competition, a distance he repeated with his very next throw. In the same circle at exactly the same time - testing the officials’ organisational skills - the U17 Men’s shot saw Chris Dyrmishi (Northampton AC, Stuart Carlaw) throw 14.59 to fight off a challenge from Jack Halpin (Gateshead H, Alex GIles) who hit 14.55 in the final round.
In the U20 Women’s shot, last year’s U17 winner, Serena Vincent (City of Portsmouth, (A Vincent/ B Carter) improved with every single throw and was rewarded with gold and a PB of 14.83, a distance that moved her to 11th of all time. Behind her Sarah Omoregie’s (Cardiff, Gareth Lease) fifth round put of 14.54 secured her the silver medal.
To cap a great day in the circle Lewis Byng (Stratford Upon Avon, Stuart Carlaw) was an untroubled winner of the U20 Men’s shot, never in doubt following his 17.79 opening effort.
In a thrilling U15 Boys long jump competition Sammy Ball (Reading, Mike Dyer) literally ran from the shot circle where he had thrown 11.47 for a bronze just in the nick of time to fly out to 5.99 in the sixth round, after everyone else had finished, to close the competition! Victory by one centimetre. One minute later, he then hopped onto the rostrum to pick up his shot medal to cap a busy 5 minutes. Before that Jack Doodson (Stockport, Jack Frost) improved his lifetime best to 5.98 in the fifth round.
Again, confirming just how skilled the official team is for this event, on an adjoining runway at precisely the same time Adam Lindo (Crawley, Julia Machin) followed an early 6.91 with a 6.97 after triple jump silver medallist Archie Yeo (Scunthorpe and District, D Harmes/M Bishell) had temporarily taken the lead with 6.92.
Concluding the field programme, Frankie Johnson (Bedford and County, Simon Eastwood), scaled 5.00 at the first time of asking in the U20 Men’s pole vault to round out a great day.
(Picture - David Griffiths, more to follow)