Eng­land Ath­let­ics U17/U15 Cham­pi­onships at Bed­ford



DE­SCRIBED as one of the best ever age group cham­pi­onships, two UK records, cham­pi­onship best per­for­mances and a string of top-10 all-time per­for­mances con­firmed that the fu­ture is in­deed bright for Bri­tish ath­let­ics.

Pippa Ear­ley and Jaleel Roper flew to UK bests in the un­der-17 women’s 80m hur­dles and un­der-15 boys’ 200m – vic­to­ries that or­di­nar­ily would be re­garded as the stand­out per­for­mance of any meet, but solo 800m cham­pi­onship best per­for­mances in the un­der-15 and un­der-17 boys’ events, a fault­less un­der-17 women’s 300m hur­dles in sub-42 sec­onds and im­pec­ca­ble high jump­ing in the un­der-15 boys’ com­pe­ti­tion meant that wasn’t by any means an easy call to make.

It’s fabulous news given the much-aired con­cerns that the GB se­nior team may have seen bet­ter days, given the de­cid­edly or­di­nary results from Lon­don just a cou­ple of weeks ear­lier. Who will fol­low Mo? Bed­ford had the an­swer.

That there is cause for op­ti­mism was fur­ther em­pha­sised by the fact that Ear­ley’s su­perb look­ing 10.97 hur­dles vic­tory wasn’t even a CBP; that mark stands at a windy 10.87 by GB un­der-20 in­ter­na­tional Ali­cia Bar­rett, who re­cently made her se­nior de­but in Lon­don. How­ever, for once the no­to­ri­ously windy Bed­ford Arena was calm and, in all but the odd race, sprint­ers en­joyed a le­gal breeze (although Ear­ley did run a windy 10.98 in her semi-fi­nal).

For Roper, the 200m record marked the com­ple­tion of a golden dou­ble. On the Satur­day, the pow­er­ful look­ing sprinter nar­rowly edged the 100m by just 0.01sec in

11.01 af­ter a time of 10.97 in his semi-fi­nal, but he didn’t leave it quite so close on the Sun­day, equalling the age group best with 22.13. Even more en­cour­ag­ingly, that kind of form was needed to win this ti­tle as the depth the un­der-15 boys 200m cur­rently en­joys is un­par­al­leled, with the top seven all run­ning in­side 23 sec­onds.

Also in that age group, Ge­orge Sud­d­er­ick ran a Euro­pean age-13 best of 35.79 in the 300m, while Tia An­der­son broke the CBP over that dis­tance with 40.35.

There’s good depth too in the mid­dle dis­tance and afi­ciona­dos will have en­joyed the dom­i­nant way both the un­der-15 and un­der-17 boys’ races were run.

First up was Daniel Joyce, who wasted no time in hit­ting the front, fly­ing through 400m in 56.7.

Show­ing no real signs of fa­tigue, he pow­ered on for an 800m cham­pi­onship best

per­for­mance of 1:56.04 for a huge win and the 10th fastest time ever, far in front of the chas­ing field.

Sub-1:50 man Max Bur­gin was in a sim­i­lar mood in the un­der-17 race. He too flew through 400m in 53.4 and con­tin­ued to stretch away on the back straight. A slight stum­ble with 200m to go did lit­tle to slow him down and the age group record-holder was re­warded with a CBP of 1:50.26.

No less im­pres­sive was Keely Hodgkin­son who whipped around the sec­ond lap in 62 sec­onds for a 2:06.85 win, a PB by more than a sec­ond (in a tac­ti­cal race) and the sug­ges­tion there is way more in the tank.

And it didn’t end there. Sun­day in par­tic­u­lar saw event af­ter event pro­duc­ing fine per­for­mances, the long hur­dles per­fectly sum­ming up what was to come for the large crowd.

In the un­der-17 men’s 400m hur­dles, Ben Lloyd clocked the fastest time in the coun­try this year – and the 10th best ever – as he pow­ered off the fi­nal hur­dle to win in 52.98, while in the un­der-17 women’s 300m hur­dles Amy Pye ran what can only be de­scribed as the per­fect race to lower her PB when tim­ing 41.96, the fifth fastest time in his­tory.

Not to be out­done, the field events were all about strength in depth. The un­der-17 women’s ham­mer, for in­stance, fea­tured 20 ath­letes and not sur­pris­ingly it took a big throw to take that ti­tle, Jade Wil­liams hit­ting 59.77m in the fourth round.

On the Satur­day Ken­neth

Ikeji chose the ideal time to break 60m for the first time as he went out to 61.92m in the un­der-15 ham­mer. His per­for­mance re­in­forced his own po­si­tion at the top of the an­nual rank­ings and moved him into the all-time Bri­tish top 20 for the age group.

But it was Sam Br­ere­ton who re­ally rose to the oc­ca­sion in the un­der-15 boys’ high jump when he flew over 1.97m be­fore a close ef­fort at 2.01m. It was a one cm im­prove­ment on the 11-year-old CBP but just shy of his PB of 2.00m.

Of course, it’s not all about

records and there was some ex­cit­ing ac­tion on the track, with the un­der-17 boys’ 1500m pro­duc­ing a crack­ing last lap that meant the re­sult was in doubt un­til the fi­nal stride.

In the end, it was Oliver Dustin who sprinted past Luke Duffy in the fi­nal strides just as the lat­ter looked to have done enough to take the ti­tle. Dustin’s last lap was a not-too-shabby 56-odd sec­onds, pos­si­bly a shade quicker given he came from mid-pack.

And you can’t help but be im­pressed by Do­minic Og­bechie. On this oc­ca­sion, he se­cured a com­fort­able look­ing win in the un­der-17 men’s 200m in 21.52 (a PB by half a sec­ond). Ad­mit­tedly well short of any records, it is not bad for a com­bined even­ter who is a great high jumper (2.07i) and also just hap­pens to be one of the best young long jumpers (7.33w) in the coun­try.

Cham­pi­onship rac­ing is about ris­ing to the oc­ca­sion on the day, which is ex­actly the at­ti­tude Abi­gail Pawlett dis­played in the un­der-15 girls’ 100m.

Be­fore the event she had a best of 12.54 – by the fi­nal she’d low­ered this to 12.04! She needed to, as 12-year-old Trezeguet Tay­lor was in a sim­i­lar mood and clocked 12.21 for sil­ver – the sec­ond fastest ever by a Bri­tish ath­lete of that age.

Sim­i­larly Oyare Aneju chose Bed­ford as the place to im­prove dra­mat­i­cally as he flew out to a mas­sive PB to win the un­der-15 boys triple jump in 13.31m, far in ex­cess of his pre-com­pe­ti­tion mark of 12.43m.

Pippa Ear­ley: U17 80m hur­dles record

Jaleel Roper (56) wins the U15 100m from Graig Anya-Joseph

Daniel Joyce: cel­e­brates his 800m win and CBP

Jade Wil­liams: 59.77m for U17 ham­mer vic­tory

Ken­neth Ikeji: ham­mer win

Joel Town­ley: came close to 14 me­tres for triple jump win

Ben Lloyd: on his way to a UK-lead­ing win in the U17 400m hur­dles

Max Bur­gin: an­other record­break­ing win

Amy Pye: U17 300m hur­dles win­ner

Do­minic Og­bechie: multi even­ter took 200m ti­tle

Sam Br­ere­ton: im­pressed in the U15 high jump

Sian Hes­lop: U15 1500m


Ge­orge Hyde: U17 shot win­ner

Char­lotte Alexan­der:

3000m suc­cess

Oliver Dustin (211): pips Luke Duffy in

the U17 1500m

Remilekun Ade­biyi (107): on his way to vic­tory in the U17 1500m steeple­chase

Abi­gail Pawlett (566): wins the U15 100m from 12-year-old Trezeguet Tay­lor (571) with Leah Dun­can (546) in third

So­phie Ashurst: U15 pole vault win­ner with


Eleanor Brown:

U15 triple jump


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