Records continue to fall at Age Group Championships

Day two of the England Athletics Under 17 and Under 15 Championships & Age Group Disability Athletics Championships continued where day one left off, with two more championships best performances as well as plenty of drama, action and ranking-topping performances.

And sitting atop all of that was Dominic Ogbechie (Club: Highgate, Coach: Juliet Kavanagh). On Saturday he leapt to a CBP of 6.84 in the U15 boys' long jump and then followed that up a day later with a superb 1.96 high jump raising the previous mark by one centimetre. However, it’s clear there’s way more to come. Dominic came into the competition with a 1.91 best but easily eclipsed that with soaring clearances at 1.92 and 1.94 before eventually bailing out at 2.00. His secret? “I just went home and relaxed,” he said. “I had plenty of time to recover from the long jump as it was in the morning [Saturday]. But I have to say my legs were tired by the time the bar reached two metres. I know I can get that.” It’s a case of watch this space: a late season multi event in Exeter may just see that.

On the track, all afternoon produced tremendous performance after tremendous performance but the race of the day had to be the U17 girls' 800m. Isabelle Boffey (Club: Enfield and Haringey, Coach: Douglas Stone) and Anna Burt (Club: Team Bath, Coach: Kevin Brunt) started as European Youth champs gold and silver medallists, but Katy-Ann McDonald (Club: Blackheath and Bromley, Coach: Phillip Kissi) was the fastest in the field. And so it proved as Katy-Ann followed the swift opening 400 of 60.41 to win in a CBP of 2:05.07. “I was expecting it to be a challenge,” she said describing how she didn’t panic when she found herself being passed with 170 metres to run. “I tried to keep my cool; I knew it would be fast so I was ready.” The girls' U15 800 was no less swift, as Molly Canham (Club: Exeter, Coach: Kevin Canham) continued her dominance of this year’s event with a gun to tape 2:08.59. It was quicker than her 2:10 English Schools' win, but shy of her PB of 2:07.84. “I’m happy with it,” she not surprisingly concluded. “I wanted to break the record, but maybe I’d have to do that in a BMC event.”

Back in the field, both the U15 boys' and U17 girls' triple jumps produced superb competitions. In the U15 boys' event, Miraji Ahmed (Club: Glasgow School of Sport) went into the competition with a 12.99 and emerged with 13.63. He won, but had to produce that monster (No.2 on the Scottish all-time list) with the very last jump of the competition as Herbert Zumbika (Club: Basildon) had flown out to 13.10, a 68cm PB just the jump before. For Claudimira Landim (Club: Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets, Coach: Kelvin Richards) it was a little less nail biting in the U17 event as her 12.37 (1.9) put her comfortably ahead, but no less spectacular as it’s the No.2 of all-time. “I was really stressed after my exams, which were really important,” she said, “so I took some time off and have returned to training much fresher.”

Saturday some impressive running in the 100m events, so it was no surprise Sunday’s 200 would produce some noteworthy performances. And so it proved with 200 specialist Alicia Regis (Club: Enfield and Haringey, Coach: John Denford) the best of an impressive bunch, winning the U15 girls' race in 24.36 (1.9), a sizeable improvement on her previous best of 24.78. Kyle Reynolds Warmington (Club: Belgrave, Coach: Andrea Lynch) followed up his 100m win with a 22.86 (0.5) victory in the U15 boys race, while Jona Efoloko (Club: Sale, Coach: John Smith) also completed the double with a 21.53 (1.3) in the U17 boys.

There was no let up in the action all afternoon. In the T33 wheelchair 100m, Jamie Edwards (Club: Weir Archer Academy, Coach: Jenny Slade) cruised to 17.80, a time while the T54 1500m was won by Dillon Labrooy (Club: Weir Archer Academy, Coach: Jenny Archer) in a swift 3:31.69.

Fast last laps best describe the 1500m action as the U15 boys', U15 girls', and U17 boys' events were all cagey affairs won by the big kicker. Alfie Bould (Club: Vale Royal, Coach: Andrew Carter), produced a sub 60-second last lap to win the U15 race in 4:17.51, while Hamza Kadir (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet, Coach: Ali Kadir) turned on the burners over the last 300 for a 4:01.06 win. In the girls' race Anna Smith (Club: Newark, Coach: Stuart Colledge) was no less impressive, with a great last lap securing her win in 4:38.25.

Hurdling brought the championships to a close and it was Marcia Sey (Club: Croydon, Coach: Lorna Booth) who came closest to becoming yet another record breaker as her 10.93 was a tantalising 0.02 from the 10.91 record in the U15 girls' 80H.

A great weekend, packed with great results and more importantly, signs that a great future lays ahead!

Photographs - Gary Mitchell