This weekend sees the England Athletics Senior and Under 20 combeined events championships, with a Decathlon for the men and a Heptathlon for the women. In addition, England Athletlcs are providing the opportunity for Under 18 hurdlers to gain qualification times for the European Youth Championships, and hosting a number of Open disability events for ambulant athletes and wheelchair racers.
Entry is by programme purchase on the door (£2). Note Bedford Stadium usually charge for parking.
Senior Women's Heptathlon
The competition for the Senior Women's Heptathlon crown is wide open and could provide the most exciting action of the day. Although last year's medallists are not entered, all three of our indoor pentathlon medallists are on the entry list; Marilyn Nwawulor (Club: Harrow AC, Coach: Lloyd Cowan / Kaspars Kazema) should get a strong start with a hurdles PB of 13.55, and will hope to build on that throughout the weekend with strong jumps and shot put. Jo Rowland (Club: Crawley AC, Coach: Toni Minichiello) has a strong finish with an 800m PB of 2.12, plus a shot PB of 13.71 and 6m+ long jump. Emma Nwofor (Club: Newham & Essex Beagles AC, Coach: Linford Christie) is strongest in the hurdles and jumps.
Nipping at their heels is last year's U20 bronze medallist Anya Turner (Club: Exeter Harriers, Coach: Glenn Walpole) making her debut in the senior competition. She's joined by a good number of last year's top ten placed athletes and this year's indoor top ten pentathletes. This includes Elise Lovell (Club: Havant AC, Coach: Steve King) the 2015 champion and last year's silver medallist, Niamh Bailey (Club: Corby AC, Coach: David Feeney) - an experienced competitor who has taken 3rd, 4th or 5th in our championships over the past few years, and last year's Scottish Heptathlon champion Ellen Barber (Club: Yeovil Olympiads AC, Coach: David Feeney).
On paper one to watch also is American indoor medallist and Olympic trials qualifier Chari Hawkins (Club: Swansea Harriers, Coach: Colin Bovell) who holds long and high jump golds from the recent BUCS champs, a 13m+ shot PB and 40m+ javelin.
Senior Men's Decathlon
Although none of last year's Decathlon medallists have entered this year, the field has plenty of quality athletes, including 2015 champion and 2016 silver medallist Jack Andrew (Club: Sale Harriers Manchester, Coach: Martin Brockman), 2016 champion and indoor Bronze medallist from 2016 and 2017 Aiden Davies (Club: Doncaster AC, Coach: Sam Stanislaus), this year's indoor Heptathlon silver medallist Lewis Church (Club: Tonbridge AC, Coach: Derek laws/John Bancroft), and Benjamin Gregory (Club: Birchfield Harriers, Coach: Aston Moore) who represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games and is no stranger to winning decathlons.
One to watch is Austrian Dominik Siedlaczek (Club: Loughborough Students) whose coach Alex Kruger is a previous indoor Heptathlon record holder and 5th on the all time list for Decathlon. Elliot Thompson (Club: Enfield and Haringey AC, Coach: Greg Richards / Gavin Sunshine) won the Scottish indoor heptathlon and looks strong on paper.
U20 Men's Decathlon
While scoring strong points across the board will be key for anyone looking to compete for the title, there could be some interesting tussles. Especially in the U20 decathlon, athletes look to have some impressive marks to their name in particular groups of events and while they play to their strengths (power or endurance or jumping for height), all must remain in as close contention as possible in other events to hope to mount the podium at the end of the weekend.
Caius Joseph (Club: Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC, Coach: Rafer Joseph) defends his title and will hope to add outdoor to his 2018 indoor champion status.
Charlie Ashdown-Taylor (Club: Bracknell AC, Coach: Andrew Hughes) scores highly on paper in the throws, whereas both the indoor Heptathlon bronze medallist and 4th placed Nicolas Gerome (Club: Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC, Coach: Rafer Joseph and Cyrille Le Nader) and Ollie Thorner (Club: Yeovil Olympiads, Coach: Alan Richardson clock good 400m and 1500m times and are usually in the final few for the high jump and pole vault.
Irishman Daniel Ryan's (Club: Herne Hill Harriers, Coach: Ian Grant) fortes are in the sprint hurdles and long jump and heavy throws and he scored a National Youth Record at the European U18 Championships in 2016.
Scottish Joel Mcfarlane (Club: Arbroath & District AC, Coach: Ian McFarlane) held the U17 Octathlon, Decathlon and indoor Heptathlon titles last year for both Scotland and England, and was the British Champion. This year is his first as U20 and he already has the British indoor Heptathlon silver under his belt.
U20 Women's Heptathlon
A quality field of 27 athletes is entered in the U20 women's event.
Holly McArthur (Club: Edinburgh AC, Coach: Iain McEwan) returns to defend her title and Grace Bower (Club: Sale Harriers Manchester, Coach: Mike Holmes) will be hoping to improve on last year's silver. Jade O'Dowda (Club: Oxford City AC, Coach: Marcia Marriott) and Natasha Smith (Club: Stroud & District AC, Coach: Kerry Eddie-Jury) both did well in the indoor pentathlon championships; Jade with a silver and Natasha 4th to add to last year's outdoor 4th and will be the one to watch in a likely exciting high jump competition.
With a raft of England medals in individual events, Pippa Earley (Club: Kingston AC and Poly Harriers, Coach: John Shepherd, Lloyd Cowan) will want to add to this year's tally of 2 indoor medals (hurdles and pentathlon).
Under 18 Hurdles
England Athletics are also providing the opportunity to gain sprint hurdles qualification times for Under 18 athletes who wish to be considered for GB selection at the European Youth Championships in Hungary in July. This includes athletes at the top of UK rankings in U17 60m indoor and 100m / 110m outdoor hurdles; Daniel Knight (Club: Enfield and Haringey AC, Coach: Brian Hopkins), Jordan Ricketts (Club: Birchfield Harriers, Coach: Anthony Pitt) and Marcia Sey (Club: Croydon Harriers, Coach: Lorna Boothe) all have UK fastest times this season, and are joined by a number of other top 10 ranked young athletes. First year U20 athletes William Adeyeye (Club: Newham & Essex Beagles AC, Coach: Tony Jarrett) and Tomos Slade (Club: Swansea Harriers, Coach: Tony Morris) are also entered.
Open Disability Champs
Over 60 athletes have entered the Disability Open ambulant and wheelchair 100m and 400m, 800m wheelchair race, and ambulant 200m and Long Jump. Entries include James Arnott (Club: City of Plymouth AC, Coach: Ryan Freckleton) who has represented England at the Nitro Athletics and took silver for the T47 100m at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and visually impaired T12 world para athlete and Gold Coast competitor Zac Shaw (Club: Cleethorpes & District AC, Coach: Joe McDonnell).
4th placed at last Summer's Worlds, T20 Martina Barber (Club: Stevenage & North Herts AC) will be long jumping, as will T37 Molly Kingsbury (Club: Bracknell AC, Coach: Benjamin Davies) who represented England recently at the Commonwealth Games. Fellow Commonwealth Games athlete Daphne Schrager (Club: Bristol and West AC) T35 will be aiming for good times in the T35 ambulant 100m and 200m.