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Lawrence Okoye


09 July 2011

For images from this weekend's event please visit www.hsphotos.co.uk


At today’s McCain UKA Challenge – Jumpsfest and Throwsfest, Lawrence Okoye (coach: John Hillier) smashed the UK discus record and world age-19 best with a throw of 67.63m, becoming the third 19-year-old this year to set a British record.

On a day of near-perfect conditions at the Barnet Copthall stadium, Abdul Buhari (Mark Wiseman) also gained the World Championships ‘A’ standard with a PB throw of 65.44m to go to No.3 on the UK all-time list, while Chris Scott (Andrew Neal) set a lifetime best of 63.00m in third – good enough for 11th on the UK all-time list and cementing his position at No.5 on this year’s McCain Power of 10 UK rankings.

Buhari’s best of the day came in the first round, which fired up Okoye from the outset. The Croydon Harrier responded with 62.59m in round three before unleashing his 67.36m in the fifth round.

It added 99cm to the UK record set 13 years ago by Perriss Wilkins, who was competing today in the third-string competition and finished seventh with 43.65m. It was also a significant improvement of more than two metres on Werner Reiterer’s world age-19 best.

“I felt pretty good warming up, but it was Abdul’s 65-metre throw in the first round that really made the difference,” said Okoye. “That definitely helped, and the standard overall was really good with Chris Scott throwing 63 metres.

“I knew that I had a big throw in me, but when I saw it was 67 metres I just went crazy,” he added. “It’s really good for the event to have three guys over the World Championships A standard, especially with 2012 just around the corner.

“The conditions today were fantastic too,” said Okoye, who goes in to next week’s European Under-23 Championships as a real medal hope. “But I’m a realist and I know that conditions like those don’t come around every day. For all I know, it could rain next week in Ostrava. Today was pretty special, but it’s all about hitting the big throws in championships.”

The women’s discus was also a quality event with European under-23 medallists Jade Nicholls (Andrew Neale) and Eden Francis (Glenys Morton) both setting PBs. Nicholls broke 60 metres for the first time with her winning mark of 60.76m as all four of her legal throws exceeded her previous PB. In second place, Francis threw 59.72m – a mark which led the competition for the first three rounds.

Francis won the shot with 16.07m from Rachel Wallader (Geoff Capes), who threw 16.02m. Rebecca Peake finished third with 15.86m, but rebounded later in the day to win the afternoon’s competition with 15.95m, finishing ahead of Wallader (15.82m) and Francis (15.31m).

An indication of the breezy conditions came in the men’s long jump as JJ Jegede (Peter Stanley) jumped eight metres for the first time in his career – albeit with a 4.8m/s tailwind! He won the competition with his jump of exactly 8.00m, with his best wind-legal jump of the day coming in round one with 7.70m (0.6m/s).

Matt Burton (Guy Spencer) finished second with a windy 7.83m, although he achieved a wind-legal PB of 7.65m, moving him to sixth on this year’s McCain Power of 10 UK rankings.

Heptathlon specialist Phyllis Agbo (Darrell Bunn) was the only athlete to break six metres in the women’s long jump competition, leaping a wind-legal 6.04m. Emily Parker (Nick Dakin) set a PB of 5.98m in second, moving her to equal 16th on the McCain Power of 10 UK rankings.

Such was the standard in the men’s pole vault, UK indoor champion Max Eaves (Alan Richardson) was beaten out of a top-three spot as Nick Cruchley (Scott Simpson) cleared 5.35m to win on countback from training partner Paul Walker (Scott Simpson). British-based Swede Robert Warensjo took third with 5.25m, the same height as Eaves.

Bryony Raine was on PB form in the women’s competition, adding one centimetre to her lifetime best to win with 4.16m, moving her to equal sixth on the McCain Power of 10 rankings, and beating Poland’s Anna Massey by some 31 centimetres.

Birchfield’s Scott Rider (John Hillier) was the sole athlete to break 18 metres in the men’s shot as he found 18.06m enough to win from the returning Greg Beard (Mark Chapman), whose 17.81m was his best throw for eight years. Gareth Winter (Lorraine Shaw) went to the top of this year’s McCain Power of 10 junior rankings with his PB of 17.39m in third place.