England Athletics had selected a very strong team from the previous weekend's Championships to travel to Cardiff to compete in the annual Welsh Athletics Indoor International at the NIAC, Cardiff.
In an effort to highlight the competition the shot put was moved to the first event of the day and held in the middle of the arena. Not to disappoint the early crowd, the throwers put on an excellent display. England’s Daniel-James Thomas (Eastbourne Rovers AC, Judy Oakes/Mike Winch) led the competition for a long time with a 17.30m put in the second round, the same round that saw Paralympic Champion Aled Davis put 15.12m, Dan improving his lead to 17.47m in round 4. However with the pressure on and in the final round, England’s Under 20 Champion pulled out a Meeting Record 17.61m to secure the win and full points for the England team. The women’s shot ran alongside the men’s and with the experienced Serena Vincent (City of Plymouth AC, Andrew Vincent/Bronwin Carter) and Hannah Molyneaux (City of Sheffield & Dearne AC, Malcolm Fenton) competing, they produced a consistent series. In the 4th round Serena put 14.68m to equal the Meeting Record and take the victory, with Hannah finishing in 3rd.
In the pole vault Felicia Miloro (Sutton in Ashield Harriers & AC, Henrietta Paxton) and Natasha Purchas (Crawley AC, Richard Pilling) both cleared 3.65m on their first attempts and could not be separated on count back and so shared the victory for England. With Jack Harris (Lewes AC, Rick Pilling) no heighting, it was left to Frankie Johnson (Bedford & County AC, Simon Eastwood) to secure the points for England. Frankie won with a vault of 4.85m, narrowly missing a personal best of 5.05m. Jazz Sears (Shaftesbury Barnet, Craig Andrew) and Mayi Hughes (Havering AC, Guy Spencer) finished 1 and 2 in the triple jump, with Jazz exceeding the Meeting Record with a season's best jump of 12.49m in the second round to take victory. Continuing in the field was the women’s high jump where Hannah Moat (Scunthorpe, David Walker) and Jodie Smith (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow, Daniel Sawyers) looked to build on personal best performances from the weekend before at the England Athletics under 20 championships. Hannah took the spoils and a new personal best of 1.78m in the process with Jodie finishing in 2nd place.
Kicking off the track programme was the women’s 400m with Ella Turner (Oxford City AC, Marcia Marriott) and Emma Alderson (Liverpool Harriers, Stephen Carroll/Nick Dakin)competing for England. Both girls took the race out strongly with Ella holding off Emma in the home straight to take victory in a Meeting Record time of 55.84s. The men’s 400m followed and representing England were Michael Fagbenle (Bexley AC, Christopher Harris) and Lewis Davey (Peterborough AC, James Copeland). Michael led the race but on the home straight Lewis, finishing strongly, dipped to get the victory, in 49.55s.
With Dominic Ogbechie (Highgate Harriers, Marius Guei/John Herbert) and Jake Burkey (Team Bath AC, Jade Surman) both having personal bests approaching the Meeting Record for the long jump, expectations for the record to go were high. With the stadium announcer's and crowd’s support, Dominic held the suspense until the last round and broke the Meeting Record with a leap of 7.66m, Jake finishing 2nd with a jump of 6.96m. In the women’s long jump England also finished 1 and 2; Josie Oliarnyk (Halesowen ACC, Dominic McNeillis) and Funminiyi Olajide (Thurrock Harriers, Geraldine Heapy/John Herbert) finishing 1st and 2nd respectively.
Stephanie Moss (Sale Harriers Manchester, Trevor Painter) took on the pace from the outset of the 800m with Emily Simpson (City of Sheffield & Dearne AC, James Russell) close behind. In the final stages Emily overtook Stephanie to take victory in a personal best time of 2:09.76 compared with 2:10.16. Rocco Zaman-Browne went in the 800m for England but couldn’t hold the welsh off who finished strongly, with Rocco finishing with a time of 1.56.96. In the women’s 200m Ellie Booker (Rotherham Harriers, Veronica Bode) and Jazmine Moss (Gateshead Harriers & AC, Bruce Horsburgh) both went below the Meeting Record with Ellie taking the victory in a personal best time of 24.58s compared to Jazmine’s 24.60s. Ethan Brown (Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC, Lloyd Cowan) won the men’s 200m in 22.01s, with Joe Ferguson (Leeds City AC, Lewis Samuel) coming in second in a time of 22.10s.
In the 60m, the England men went up against the Welsh superstar, Jeremiah Azu, who duly broke the Meeting Record, with the English duo, Alwayne Campbell (Birchfield Harriers, Andy Paul) and Ethan Wiltshire (Marshall Milton Keynes AC, Jake Awe) both recording a time of 6.95 to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively. Amy Hunt (Charnwood AC, Joe McDonnell) and Lakeisha Owusu-Junior (Herne Hill Harriers, Matthew Thomas) took to the track in the women’s 60m, Lakeisha started well but Amy overcame her to take the win and Meeting Record of 7.37s. Amy’s performance was deemed female performance of the day by the meeting organisers.
An athlete of the match performance was needed by Joshua Zeller (Bracknell AC, Adrian Brown) to win the 60m Hurdles. He ran a storming race in a time of 7.80s, with Tre Thomas (Charnwood AC, Eli Binks) making it another England 1 and 2 in a time of 7.97s. The final women's track race was the women’s 60m Hurdles which did not disappoint. Marcia Sey (Croydon Harriers, Lorna Boothe/Alan Richardson) and Jenna Blundell (Team Bath Athletic Club, Julie Alexander) pushed each other all the way with Marcia getting the win just outside her personal best in 8.46s. Jenna was rewarded with a new personal best of 8.48s.
The last men’s individual track event was the 1500m. Dan Preston (Liverpool Harriers & AC, Adrian Webb) pushed his English team mate Luke Duffy (Mansfield Harriers, Luke Gunn) hard and finished second in 3.58.97. Luke, giving England another win, ran a season's best of 3.56.64
The relays never disappoint and always bring out the best from the athletes and spectators alike. In the women’s 4x200m Ellie Booker led off, handing over in 1st place to Emma Alderson who maintained the lead handing over to Ella Turner on the third leg. Jazmine Moss received the baton on the final leg and maintained the lead to cross the line in 1:39.38. The men’s 4x200m relay closed the event and was full of drama. Joe Ferguson led the quartet out, handing over to Lewis Davey. Michael Fagbenle ran the third leg passing the baton to Ethan Brown to finish in a time of 1.29.55 bringing in second place. Ethan was closing rapidly on the Welshman but couldn’t quite close the gap quick enough.
England Athletics Head of Competitions Andy Day said “It was a real pleasure to come back to Wales again and bring such a strong team, with many debutantes performing so well. Thank you to all the team staff for their hard work and support over the weekend.”
Team Managers: Alison Potts (Men), Sarah Friday (Women)
Team Coaches: Karen Buck (Sprints), Clarence Callender (Sprints), Keith Holt (Endurance), Joe Frost (Field)
Physios: Lucy Eggleton, Thomas Flanagan