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CROWD PLEASERS

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Robbie Grabarz

5 May 2012

The Olympic Stadium was officially opened on Saturday evening and the 40,000 crowd inside were treated to a wealth of athletics action.

London 2012 hopefuls Holly Bleasdale (coach: Julien Raffalli-Ebezant), Jack Green (Malcolm Arnold), Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Ahmed) and Lawrence Okoye (John Hillier) were some of the many athletes who tested out the Stratford venue at the London 2012 athletics test event.

Indeed, many of those found the experience a worthwhile exercise and one that whets the appetite even further with less than 100 days to go until London 2012.

Okoye, who competed in the men’s discus qualifying round as part of the BUCS competition and threw a distance of 63.57m, said: “It was great to experience the circle that I will hopefully throw-in in a few months time. I’ve gained a huge advantage by coming here today and I threw pretty well.”

While Bleasdale echoed similar sentiments: “It was a really good thing to come here. It’s made me more excited to aim harder and to make sure I am back here in August. It was a good experience and I know where everything is now.”

The Chorley athlete finished in second place behind Kate Dennison (Scott Simpson) in the UKA pole vault competition, both cleared 4.35m but Dennison won by virtue of count back. Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox) came out on top in the men’s category with a height of 5.25m.

As the evening gathered pace, David Bishop (James Thie) won the 3000m in a personal best time of 7:56.37,while Sophie Papps (Neil Dodson) ran of lifetime best of 11.61 to win the women’s 100m.

400m hurdles duo Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) and Jack Green won their respected races with relative ease.

“As much as a win is great I would have liked a nice opening time and I expected to run a little quicker than I did (50.01),” said Green. “My run was scrappy I didn’t deserve to run quick. The track is really nice so now that I’ve ran on it, come the Olympics I will know how to handle it.”

Crowd pleaser Robbie Grabarz was delighted with his night’s work of 2.26m in the high jump.

“It was exciting and nice to jump in a stadium full of people. It was a nice atmosphere, I was trying to get everyone involved, but it was really good fun. Finding my feet on a track this fast this early on is nice.”

James Ellington (John Powell) wrapped up proceedings with a time of 10.30 in the men’s 100m and it certainly warmed up the fans as the temperature in the arena dropped.

“Apart from the cold, the atmosphere was amazing, the track was good and I enjoyed every minute of it.”