England Athletics U17/U15 Championships at Bedford
BEDFORD SAW SOME GREAT AGE GROUP PERFORMANCES AS PIPPA EARLEY AND JALEEL ROPER IMPRESSED
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
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
U15 triple jump