There has been a great first day of action at the England Athletics Senior and Under 20 combined events championships, with the Disability and Under 18 Open events also producing notable performances.
While the combined eventers went into the overnight break all set for the titles to be decided tomorrow the disability athletics saw Paralympians in action and, as with the Under 18 events, athletes making the most of the opportunities on offer.
Senior Women’s Heptathlon
It was predicted that the Senior Women’s event would be a great one to watch and Day One did not disappoint.
As expected Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Jess Taylor-Jemmett (Sale Harriers Manchester, Mike Holmes) was to the fore, but there was also attention on the extent to which Under 20 Niamh Emerson (Amber Valley & Erewash AC, David Feeney) could make an impression when stepping up to compete against the seniors.
With Morgan Lake (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Aston Moore) planning to contest the early events before withdrawing the early leader board was always going to be interesting. With a 14.19 (952 pts) 100m hurdles opener it was Jessica Tappin (Thames Valley Harriers, Mike Holmes) who came out as the early leader ahead of Elise Lovell (Hastings AC, Steve King) who ran 14.24 for 945 points.
As expected the high jump saw Morgan move into the lead and also recording her highest jump of the year with 1.91 (1,119 pts) which would have ended the day as the highest outdoor jump by a British athlete this year were it not for Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Liverpool H) clearing 1.95 in Gotzis. But also of significance was the 1.82 (1,003 pts) clearance by Niamh, the Commonwealth Youth Games champion at high jump, that took her into second position, 63 points back. Katie Stainton (Birchfield Harriers, Kelly Sotherton) now moved into third after her 1.70 (855 pts) ahead of Jess Tappin who cleared 1.67 (818 pts).
In the shot Morgan extended her lead with a 12.79 (713 pts) as Niamh recorded 11.99 (660 pts) to stay second and in a strong position ahead of the planned withdrawal by the then leader. It was now Jess Taylor-Jemmett who moved right through with a 13.05 (731 pts) taking her from 10th third ahead of Katie (11.41, 622 pts).
With Morgan and Katie not contesting the final event of the day, the 200m, Jess Taylor-Jemmett and Niamh clocked the fastest and second times with 24.39 (944 pts) and 24.97 (890 pts) respectively. This meant it was the Under 20 Niamh who led the competition at the end of Day One on 3,450 points ahead of Jess Taylor-Jemmett’s 3,360 as the other Jess, Tappin, moved up to third from fifth after a 25.45 (846 pts) 200m to finish the day on 3,244. The second day is set up to be an eventful one.
Senior Men’s Decathlon
While the lead positions in this event have seen little change through the day, the medal positions have been closely contested throughout, with the second day looking set to follow in the same vein.
2015 silver medallist Peter Moreno (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow AC, Neil Dodson) leads overnight from Under 23 James Finney (Leeds City AC, Sam Stanislaus), with the two having held those positions throughout Day One. Peter started the day with an 11.02 100m (856 pts) to lead from James’ 11.14 (830 pts).
The long jump saw Michael Bowler (Enniscorthy AC, Dominic McNeillis) as the only athlete over 7m with 7.02 (818 pts). That put him into third position as the top two recorded the next two longest jumps. Peter jumped 6.99 (811 pts) and James 6.93 (797 pts) for a 40-point gap between first and second.
In the shot Peter’s 11.96 (604 pts) meant he open more of a gap as James recorded 11.51 (577 pts) and Andrew Murphy (Kilbarchan AAC, Colin Sinclair) with 13.24 (682 pts) now moved into third place, 73 points off the lead.
The high jump could not be any closer between the top three. They each recorded the joint highest mark of 1.96 (767 pts), meaning the positions and gaps stayed exactly the same with Michael Bowler now 101 points off the medal positions after a 1.87 (687 pts).
The top two were again fastest of the field in the last event of the day. As James clocked a 48.31 (894 pts) James came home in 49.16 (854 pts) to see the gap open - 3,932 to 3,825. With Andrew running 51.07 (766 pts) he lost some ground on the front two (3,731) while Michael clawed back two points on him with 51.03 (768) to end the day on 3,632.
Under 20 Women’s Heptathlon
Indoor Pentathlon champion Holly McArthur (Edinburgh AC, Iain McEwan) completed a good day’s competition in the lead as she looks to add the outdoor title to her honours. But among those in the medal hunt are indoor bronze medallist Grace Bower (Sale Harriers Manchester, Mike Holmes) who finished the day in second place.
Holly was in the lead off the first event after a 14.54 (903 pts) 100m hurdles as Alice Linaker (City of York AC, Matt Barton) who ran 15.17 (819 pts) and Anya Turner (Exeter Harriers, Glenn Walpol) with 15.26 (808 pts) completed the early top three.
It was Grace who then took the lead in the high jump courtesy of a being one of four athletes to clear 1.64 (783 pts) as another of the 1.64 athletes, Natasha Smith (Stroud AC), moved second with Holly now third after a 1.55 (678 pts).
But recording the furthest mark in the shot of 11.14 (604 pts) put Holly back in the lead with Grace second (9.91, 524 points) on 2,108 points to 2,185. Anya’s 10.17 (541 pts) moved her back up one place to third.
Holly’s impressive 24.90 (896 pts) 200m opened her lead to almost 250 points as she finished the day on 3,081. Grace ran 26.84 (725 pts) to end day one on 2,833, as just one hundredth slower was Anya for one point less and a 2,785 score ahead of day two.
Under 20 Men Decathlon
It is Caius Joseph (Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC, Rafter Joseph) leading the Under 20 competition overnight but a close scoreboard means that Sunday looks set to see another competitive day of action.
Caius was second after the first event with his 11.45 100m (763 pts) being bettered only by William Seed (Cleethorpes & District AC, Ben Frary) who ran 11.35 (784 pts), as Ryan Long (Poole AC) clocked a 11.52 (748 pts) to lie third.
Scott Connal (Edinburgh AC, Iain McEwan) led after two events as his 6.71 (746 pts) long jump put him on 1,463. With William jumping 6.40 (675 pts) and Caius 6.42 (679 pts) the pair lay in second and third with 1,459 and 1,442 respectively.
A 12.41 (631 pts) shot moved Caius into the top position he would hold for the rest of the day. Now Scot lay second after an 11.52 (577 pts) mark and William third following his 10.62 (523 pts). And Caius extended this lead in the high jump. A 1.84 (661 pts) clearance moved him to 2,734 as Charlie Ashdown-Taylor (Bracknell AC, Andrew Hughes) 1.81 (636 pts) now moved up two places to second on 2,583 and Joss Moffatt (Rushcliffe AC, Graham Moffatt) was another to clear 1.84 and moved to third.
The last event of the day saw William fastest on the track with a 50.29 400m (801 pts) to move back to second on 3,343 behind Caius who ran 51.61 (742 pts) to end the day on 3,476. Joss’s 51.50 (747 pts) means he stands on 3,320 in the last medal position as the athletes go into Day Two.
Disability Open Events
Paralympic champions Jonnie Peacock (Charnwood AC, Dan Pfaff/Mike Khmel) and Georgie Hermitage (Guildford & Godalming AC, Paul Macgregor) were both in action in the 100m races.
Jonnie made the trip to Bedford off the back of winning the Great City Games T44 100m the previous evening. He clocked an 11.10 (+0.4) in the first set of races. Georgie, who is returning to fitness after an injury clocked after a 13.83 (+0.4) after a 14.00 (-0.1) in the first series of races.
Jordan Howe (DSW Para Academy, Christian Malcolm, T35) ran an impressive PB of 12.54 (+1.1) and is coming off a spell of great runs, having previously clocked 12.72 at the Loughborough International last weekend and a 12.75 in Dubai in March. This latest performance puts him ranked second in the World going into World Para Athletics selections.
Jordan Okonta (Worthing & District, T20) clocked a PB of 12.65 (+1.1) PB while Javaughn Parkes (Birchfield Harriers, Lincoln Asquith, T36, U23) recorded a big PB and went below 13 seconds for the first time with 12.87 (+1.1). This lowered his previous best from 13.11 and he now is ranked in the top 8 in the world.
Zac Shaw (Cleethorpes & District AC, Joe Mconnell, T12) and James Arnott (City of Plymouth AC, Ryan Freckleton, T47) both continued to show strong and consistent form with an 11.25 and 11.38 (-0.8) respectively
Paralympic and World Para Athletics medallist Graeme Ballard (Wigan & District H & AC, Trevor Painter, T36) produced a 12.39 (-0.8) which marked a return to previous form as he continues a long career. Other PBs in the men's Ambulant 100m races included Morgan Jones (DSW Para Academy, Christian Malcolm, T47) with 12.00 (-0.8) and Dylan Harris (Reading, T38) with 12.70 (-0.8).
In the women’s Ambulant 100m there were more PBs with Julie Rogers (Bedford & County, Allen Adamson, T42) clocking 16.82 (+0.3), Selina Litt (Charnwood AC, Lincoln Asquith, T11) running 13.52 (+0.0), Esme O'Connell (Dacorum & Tring, T20) running 13.13 (+0.0) and Hetty Bartlett (Orwell Panthers AC, Mick Graham, T20) knocking a big chuck off her best with 14.04.
In the Wheelchair events Aminul Islam (Victoria Park Harriers, T54) clocked a huge 100m personal best of 21.78. Other personal bests included from Thomas Miller (Harlow AC, Richard Chassaro, T34) in the 100m with 24.27 (no wind speed) and Nathan Freeman (Worthing & District Harriers, Julian Stevens, T34) in the 800 with 3:21.82.
The long jump saw Zak Skinner (Tonbridge AC, David Hull, T13) leap a superb 6.36 although the +2.6 wind-reading was above the legal limit, while Jordan Okonta (Worthing & District Harriers, T20) went out to 5.56, a mark just outside his recent PB.
Newcomers to the scene Lindsay Chapman (Poole AC, Martin Cook, T54) and Ali Smith (Guildford & Godalming AC, Paul Macgregor, T38) recorded a debut 800m of 3:10.17 and 100m of 14.60 (+0.4) respectively.
Under 18 Open events
In the Under 18 men’s 110m hurdles Jack Sumners (Stratford Upon Avon AC, Paul Bearman) took full advantage of the opportunity to race over the U18 specification hurdles and a wind right on the legal limit to clock a 13.51 (+2.0) ahead of Sam Bennett (Basildon AC, Steve Surety) who ran a 13.60. Seamus Derbyshire (City of Stoke AC, Derek Yeomans) and Joshua Faulds (Rugby & Northampton AC, James Wright) were both given a 52.95 in the 400m hurdlers with the Stoke athlete being given the verdict by the officials.
Anya Bates (Birchfield Harriers, Paul Harrison) was quickest of the women’s sprint hurdlers as she ran a 13.87 (+0.1) followed home by Emily Russell (Harrow AC) in 14.18. The 400m hurdles saw a 65.55 for Grace Gentry (The HAWCS, David Rice).
For results updates on Day Two please see resultsengland.athletics-uk.org/