BMC GRAND PRIX, Eltham

JULY 7

Athletics Weekly - - Results -

SHOULD Zakia Mossi fol­low in the foot­steps of Katie Snow­den then it will be a job well done by the young­ster and her coach Phil Kissi, Kevin Fa­hey re­ports.

The per­for­mance by the 14-year-old Black­heath & Brom­ley ath­lete in win­ning the women’s 800m C race in a per­sonal best of 2:09.86 strength­ened her place at the top of the UK rank­ings for un­der-15 girls.

Fur­ther­more, it marks her out as one of the favourites for the gold medal for the ju­nior girls’ 800m at the Eng­lish Schools Cham­pi­onships in Birm­ing­ham this week­end, an achieve­ment that would match that of Snow­den who lifted the cov­eted ti­tle as an in­ter girl nine years ago.

Cru­cially for Snow­den it proved to be the spring­board for fu­ture suc­cess with a GB ju­nior in­ter­na­tional vest and ear­lier this year her se­nior in­ter­na­tional de­but for Eng­land down un­der at the Com­mon­wealth Games where she fin­ished 11th in the 1500m fi­nal.

Since then she has re­cently kick­started her sea­son again with fourth place over 1500m in the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onships and then at Eltham a sea­son’s best of 2:01.75 to win the 800m A race and climb up to eighth in the UK rank­ings – though she is aim­ing to im­prove that over the com­ing weeks.

“I feel a lot stronger this sea­son as I have been con­cen­trat­ing on the 1500m so to come out and run a sea­son’s best over 800m is very pleas­ing and I am happy with that,” said Snow­den.

“I’ll do a few more to sharpen up my speed and then go back to the 1500m to­wards the back end of the sea­son and hope­fully get some faster times.”

Snow­den, whose last Grand Prix win over 800m was three years ago when the Herne Hill Har­rier beat New Zealand in­ter­na­tional Angie Petty at SportCity, timed her charge to per­fec­tion to edge out leader Hanna Her­mans­son of Swe­den in the clos­ing strides.

“Yes, I left it late!” added Snow­den.

“Ac­tu­ally I got boxed in around the bend so I just had to wait and be pa­tient for a gap to open. I felt strong so when the gap came I was able to get out and come through down the home straight.”

Mossi didn’t have that prob­lem in the C race as the 14-year-old dom­i­nated af­ter hit­ting the bell in 62.45 and run­ning away from her more ex­pe­ri­enced ri­vals with a very as­sured per­for­mance.

“We are re­ally look­ing for­ward to the Eng­lish Schools as it is some­thing we have been work­ing to­wards since last year when she fin­ished third as a bot­tom year ju­nior girl,” said coach Kissi.

“Zakia is fear­less and a great tal­ent.” Two other fe­male run­ners to catch the eye were Jenny Nes­bitt and Philippa Bow­den, who en­joyed a crack­ing duel in the 3000m.

The pair had al­ready met three times on the track this sea­son with Bow­den fin­ish­ing ahead in all of them – the BUCS 5000m, High­gate 10,000m and Bri­tish Cham­pi­onships 5000m – so against that back­ground Nes­bitt was un­der­stand­ably de­lighted to have claimed vic­tory in a per­sonal best of 9:11.40 with Bow­den just a few strides be­hind in 9:13.24, also a PB.

“I think we pushed each other on this evening which was good and it was nice to beat Philippa as pre­vi­ously she had won our head-to-heads,” said Nes­bitt.

“I came here to run a PB so I have to be pleased with that. I am just rac­ing for fun at the mo­ment hav­ing started my sea­son so early with the Com­mon­wealth Games but it has been a great year for me so far.”

Bow­den said she rel­ished her bat­tles with Nes­bitt and a PB by 12 sec­onds was a good con­so­la­tion for fin­ish­ing run­ner-up.

“Jenny and I are good friends be­fore and af­ter we race and that was a de­cent bat­tle out there,” said Bow­den. “I only raced one 3000m last year so I knew on the ba­sis of my times at 5000m and 10,000m I should be run­ning a lot quicker at this dis­tance.”

The times lift Nes­bitt and Bow­den to 10th and 12th in the rank­ings.

In the men’s races there was an im­pres­sive win by Spencer Thomas in the 1500m as he not only fin­ished al­most five sec­onds clear of Sam Blake but also shaved 1.76 sec­onds off his pre­vi­ous best set in the Lough­bor­ough In­ter­na­tional ear­lier this sea­son.

“The key this evening was to try and run smooth and find my rhythm as that has not been hap­pen­ing for me this sea­son,” said Thomas.

“I was keen to put my­self out there and see where I was at and I am happy to come away with 3:43.

“Over­all I have not run as quick as I would have liked this sum­mer as I wanted to get to 1:46 for the 800m and 3:39 for 1500m so I will be look­ing for some­thing faster.”

There were also PBs for the first three home in the B race and for C race win­ner James Heneghan as the Winch­ester ju­nior clipped a sec­ond off his 2017 best.

New Zealand’s 21-year-old James Pre­ston, who re­cently ran a life­time best of 1:47.7 in the Brus­sels Grand Prix, cel­e­brated his first Grand Prix race with

Katie Snow­den (45): wins the women’s A 800m race from Hanna Her­mans­son (46) and Sara Kuiv­isto (50), who was fourth

Har­vey Dixon: leads even­tual win­ner Jonny Hay in the 3000m

Un­der-15 Zakia Mossi: win­ning the 800m C race in her first

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