A qualifying standard and a number of personal bests were the highlights of our successful England team trip to Vienna. The team was a mix of experienced and developing young athletes selected from trial races and rankings.
First on the track was the women’s 60m hurdles. Alicia Barrett (Club: Chesterfield / Sheffield Hallam Uni, Coach: Antonio Minichellio) had a season opening run of 8.57, while Yasmin Miller (Club: Derby / South Bank, Coach: Robert Smith) ran herself into the final with 8.34. Yasmin went on to finish 4th in the final, with a time of 8.33. Next were the 60m men. Reuben Arthur (Club: Enfield & Haringey, Coach: Ryan Freckleton) was in the first heat and ran 6.80 followed by Deji Tobais (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow / Hertfordshire Uni, Coach: Simon Duberley) who matched this. In the final Reuben ran faster than his heat to finish fourth in 6.79. An emotional Deji crossed the line after a superb run and recording a PB of 6.74. Not to be outdone by the men, the ladies ran themselves into the final. Having dead-heated at Lee Valley recently, both girls were drawn in the same heat, Diani Walker (Club: Birchfield Harriers / Middlesex Uni, Coach: Lloyd Cowan) winning in 7.47 and Risqat Fabunmi-Alade (Club: Swansea / Bath Uni, Coach: Donovan Reid / David Serrant / Shani Anderson) coming third in 7.56. However come the final Risquat turned the tables and won in 7.47, Diani settling for 2nd place in 7.51.
Meanwhile in the field, Feron Sayers (Club: Birchfield Harriers, Coach: Aston Moore) won an exciting long jump competition which came to life in the fifth round. With the lead changing hands in a matter of minutes and by just 1cm, Feron came out on top with 7m42 and the Hungarian athlete had to settle for second. Jack Roach (Club: Middlesbrough (Mandale) / Northumbria Uni, Coach: Jacqueline Pringle) had some technical difficulties but still finished in a creditable 3rd place, jumping 7m20. The women’s long jump was a close competition, had it not been for a slight plasticine mark, Eleanor Broome (Club: Rugby & Northampton, Coach: Ian Roberts) would have challenged the lead but had to settle for 5th with 5m93. Sam Trigg (Club: Erme Valley, Coach: Daniel Hooker) dominated a relatively weak triple jump competition, winning by almost a metre, jumping 15m50 in his first competition of 2018.
Heat 2 of the 400m saw Jarryd Dunn (Club: Birchfield Harriers / Wolverhampton Uni, Coach: Keith Holt) win in 47.56. But one of the highlights of the day came in heat 5 where Lee Thompson (Club: Sheffield & Dearne, Coach: John Henson) blasted a huge PB of 46.74, narrowly missing out qualification for the World Indoors. With the women’s 400m, Hannah Williams (Club: Herts Phoenix, Coach Colin Gaynor) put in a very mature performance, holding off the Dutch athlete in a SB 53.55. In the next heat Amy Allcock (Club: Aldershot, Farnham & District / Loughborough Students, Coach: Glyn Hawkes) also won her heat in 53.89.
In the distance races, Phil Sesemann (Club: Blackheath & Bromley / Leeds Uni, Coach: Andrew Henderson)won the 1500m comfortably in 3:44.18 moving him to the top of the rankings. Michael Wilsmore (Club: Bristol & West / Tamar, Coach: Graeme Riley) pushed on at the half way mark to lead the race at that point, and finished with a SB of 3:45.28. Jamie Webb (Club: Liverpool Harriers / Loughborough Students, Coach: Adrian Webb) led the 800m from gun to tape putting in an indoor PB of 1:47.33. Following the race Jamie said, "I am delighted to run an indoor PB and claim the loaf of bread I missed out on 2 years ago (not like I am holding a grudge). This is a step closer to the World Championships qualifying time and a great build up to the British Champs." Issy Boffey (Club: Enfield & Haringey, Coach: Doug Stone) ran a very mature 800m race; the initial pace was set too quick for the English athlete, so she sat off the pace and then from a very isolated position came home with a SB of 2:05.79.
The shot circle was dominated by the English athletes; Scott Lincoln (Club: City of York, Coach: Paul Wilson) and Youcef Zatat (Club: Woodford Green Essex Ladies / East London Uni, Coach: self) improved throughout the men's rounds and were pleased with their progress at this point in the season. Youcef finished in second place with 17m62 and Scott took the win with a SB of 18m54, both an improvement on last year's performances. Following his win Scott said, "I was happy to take the win and the loaf of bread again, it has been a great team to be a part of and the competition is a great stepping stone to bigger things this season. I knew that when I tore the sleeves on my jacket that my winter gains were apparent." The women’s shot put competition was led by Rachel Wallader (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Coach: Richard Woodhall) throughout and she put in a consistent performance despite being hampered by hip problems. She won with 16m58; the performance showed much promise for the rest of the season. Amelia Strickler (Club: Thames Valley Harriers, Coach: Zane Duquemin) landed awkwardly during warm up and sadly could not continue.
The last three races on the track, involving English athletes, resulted in wins all round; Georgina Adam (Club: Lincoln Wellington, Coach: Denise Timmis) ran 24.37 in the women’s 200m to win her heat, gaining valuable experience. Heat 2 of the men’s 200m saw debutante Charlie Dobson (Club: Colchester Harriers, Coach: Steve Garnham), in a storming run to finish with an indoor PB of 21.30. However, the best was saved until last with Andrew Morgan-Harrison (Club: Kingston upon Hull, Coach: Pam Piercy) winning the competition in an excellent 21.28.
The athletes were professionally supported by team coaches; Andy Henderson returning to Austria and supporting the endurance team, Mike Leonard was appointed to support the sprints team, John Shepherd supported the field, and Mike McNeil supported the throws. The coaching team once again facilitated the athletes to gain some excellent results. A huge thanks goes to the physio team of Claire Lawrence and Dan Elias.
Team Manager Alison Potts said, "The team has been a pleasure to work with. The success of the trip was down to the talent and hard work of the athletes and a great support team who worked tirelessly. Head of Competitions, Andy Day added, "England Athletics have been sending out teams to this meeting for over 10 years now. We are delighted that the trip is still producing so many excellent results both on the track, in the field and with the support teams."
Click here for full results (Dreisprung=triple jump, Kugelstoß=shot put, Weitsprung=long jump)
John Shepherd was one of the accompanying coaches; he's put together a short video summary of the event whihc you can watch below: