Athletes barely had time to draw breath after the record-breaking opening day, before the action sparked into life on the Sunday of the age group champs. From the very first gun in the qualifying rounds of the 200m and first throw of the shot final – the two early morning events – one thing was clear; it would take something very special indeed to shine in Sheffield.
Saturday’s action had included a British record along with an English record, and not to be outdone, Sunday went even better and produced two national best performances, this time in the 200m and 60m hurdles, along with two seconds on the all-time list, in the triple jump and 800m, along with the third furthest ever, also in the triple jump. The future is in safe hands.
Here’s how the key events on what was a sensational Sunday unfolded:
It’s rare there’s so much daylight between first and second in the 60m hurdles, but when the winner, Jessica Duncton (Coach: Paul Gripton, Club: Birchfield Harriers) clocks a UK age group record of 8.18 perhaps that’s no surprise.
“I’m so happy to peak at the right moment and I can’t thank my coach enough,” said Jessica, happily surprised by the speed of her run. “Next up is the senior champs next week so I’m looking forward to that.”
Precious Akpe-Moses (Andy Paul, Birchfield) may have entered the race ranked a lowly 21st this season but she emerged gold medallist thanks to her 24.43 victory, slicing 0.27sec from her previous best. That’s a big chunk given the small margin of her victory. The official results confirmed what the big crowd had witnessed first-hand; it had been a close race. Precious was given the nod over a super-fast closing Hannah Falvey from Ireland who was just one thousandth behind!
The shot saw Cleo Agyepong (John Hillier, Blackheath and Bromley Harriers) confirm her pre-event favourite status with a 14.15 opening throw that won her the gold.
The much anticipated 60m hurdles didn’t fail to deliver on its predicated super high-quality standard. It featured the English record holder Noah Hanson (Carl Graham, Newham and Essex Beagles) v occasional training partner Daniel Goriola (Tony Jarrett, Blackheath and Bromley) who has been competing over the senior hurdle heights this season. It was Daniel who nipped it on the line with a personal best of 7.66, just 0.01sec ahead of Noah.
A fascinating high jump with five clearing over two metres saw Scotland’s Matthew Tait (Alan Smith, Dunfermline) win with 2.10m. He cleared that height at the first time of asking for a timely 5cm improvement on his previous best.
Will Lane (Trevor Fox, City of Sheffield and Dearne) was equally impressive in the jumps as he went over 5.00m at the second time of asking in the pole vault. He had two tantalisingly close attempts at 5.10m.
Olivia Scrimshaw (Amy Billington, Deeside) had seen Qi-Chi Ukpai (John Herbert, Blackheath and Bromley) open her account in the triple jump with 12.36m, the third longest jump indoors ever. Unruffled, the Welshwoman responded in the best possible way with 12.53m with her very last jump, for number two on that all-time list and more importantly, the gold medal.
It was a case of catch me if you can for Grace Tuesday (David Leach, Lewes) in the 800m. She flew through the first 200m in a tick under 30 seconds, eased back fractionally to pass 400m in 62.4 before hanging on for a gun to tape victory in 2:10.75, for the second national title for this small Sussex club (they had a win in the U15 girls' pole vault on Saturday). Superb!
Nothing could separate Callie Coates (Lee Walker, City of Sheffield and Dearne) and Mia Judd (Tony Bateman, Winchester) in the high jump. Each of them cleared every height from 1.49m to 1.74m at the first time of asking meaning two golds had to be presented. For Callie it was a season’s best and for Mia, it equalled her PB and meant she retained her title of last year, albeit by sharing the top of the podium this time around.
Lawson Capes’ (Lewis Capes, Peterborough and Nene Valley) quest to win his fifth national title needed just one throw as he opened with 15.80m, fully two metres further than any of his rivals. Britain’s number one then stretched that lead with his second-round effort of 16.44 to ensure the Capes dynasty continues; his grandfather Geoff, two-time Commonwealth champion in 1974 and 1978 threw 21.68m in 1980. Lawson, who made his debut for England last week, then hit a lifetime best of 16.84 in the third round to secure the victory.
“I’m happy with that, but I was hoping to throw 17 metres,” said Lawson.
Adding a second gold medal to this weekend tally was Welshman Luca Phillips (Philip Warwicker, Cardiff Archers) who won the long jump thanks to his 7.14m in the fourth round; he then added a third gold to his collection, winning the 60m hurdles in 8.03.
It’s difficult not to use the word ‘sensational’ such was Aliyah Afolabi (Lisa Waddon, Cardiff Archers) power and speed off the final bend as she flew to a UK age group best in the 200m. The clock stopped at 24.13 for the Welsh athlete, a time that drew a gasp from the appreciative audience. It was that kind of time!
“I was really shocked with that time,” said Aliyah. “I was aiming for a PB and hoping for 24.39 so to run that fast was a surprise.” She had been injured last year and didn’t expect to return to such fast form quite so dramatically!
A fabulous 800m from Jorjia March (John Clarke, Barnet) saw her destroy the field, front running her way to 2:10.15. That was the second fastest ever indoors both in the UK and at these championships and was a perfect display of even paced running as she went through halfway in a strong, but under control 64.4. She slowed slightly on the third lap but had plenty in the tank over the final 150 metres to suggest there’s much more to come.
The top-class performances continued apace as Holly Ryan (Ty Holden, Shaftesbury Barnet) moved into the top 10 fastest 300m runners ever with her 40.18 victory.
Divine Iheme (Nkiruka Iheme, Radley) picked up where he left off on Saturday. With the 60m gold and British record in his pocket, he comfortably flew to 22.84, well inside his hoped-for time of just inside 23 seconds.
“I was hoping for sub 23,” he confirmed, “so I’m really happy with that time.”
In the 800m William Hapgood (Peta Bee, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) hit the front early on and was never really troubled as he ran a personal best of 2:01.74 to win the gold medal. Few can claim to have improved quite so dramatically this winter as that was close to four seconds faster than his previous best.
Sam Steadman (Chelmsford) looked sharp on his way to 36.99 in the 300m, the sixth fastest ever indoors.
In the field, Kierath Dhillon (Dartford Harriers) threw a PB of 15.79m to win the shot. It was the first competition of the year and a massive improvement his previous best of 14.11 for last season’s English Schools' AA fifth placer.
Huge thanks to all our volunteer technical officials who helped ensure every athlete's performace was marked or timed - some into the record books!Read the full Day 1 report
Photos by Pat Isaacs and Paul Halford (Lawson Capes)
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Photos from the champs
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