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gb & ni break records at combined events indoor international match

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John Lane
Andy Chubb Photography

27 January 2014

The annual Combined Events Indoor International Match between GB & NI, Czech Republic, France, The Netherlands and Spain for senior teams and GB & NI, France and Spain for under 23 and under 20 teams took place in Sheffield on 25-26 January with records tumbling at the EIS.

John Lane (coach: Toni Minichiello) was one of the standout performers as he broke the British heptathlon  record previously held by Alex Kruger since 1995 with a score of 5982.

Although Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake) had to pull out of the under 20 women’s competition with an injury, all of the other five GB & NI juniors in the match equalled or bettered their personal bests. This was quickly followed by further success in the under 23 men’s event with Daniel Needham (Trevor Painter/Roy Needham) recording the fastest time of that competition with 7.00 seconds.

The senior men were next up and Ashley Bryant (Ian Grant), Richard Reeks (Grant) and John Lane all won their 60m heats with personal best times, Lane recorded the fastest time of the day with 6.96 seconds.

The under 23 and under 20 women moved on to their high jump and the under 23 and under 20 men took to the long jump where Needham was again the top British performer with 7.04m. Under 20 David Hall (Grant) added 25cm to his personal best in recording 6.84m and he was closely followed by Aiden Davies (Bruce Bewley), who also recorded a PB of 6.78m.

The under 23 and under 20 men moved on to the shot while the senior men took centre stage for the long jump with one of the outstanding performances of the weekend coming from Bryant, whose 7.67m personal best briefly put him top of the Power of 10 rankings. Bryant was well supported by Lane, who recorded a personal best of 7.26m, and Ben Gregory (Julie Hollman) which put GB & NI into the overall lead in the senior men’s competition.

The under 23 and under 20 men had now moved to the shot and with a near PB performance Liam Ramsay (Mike Corden) moved to within 19 points of the leader in the under 23 age group.

Following their domination of the long jump, the senior men moved to the shot, traditionally one of the weaker events for the British team, but with Lane putting 14.21m, Bryant 13.83m and Gregory with a PB of 13.36m, the team retained their lead. They were followed by the under 23 and under 20 women where Georgina Westwood (Lake) recorded her third PB of the day and Danielle McGifford (Sharon Walls) had her first ever 10m throw.

In the under 23 and under 20 men’s high jump it was more of the same as Ramsay jumped a PB of 1.97m and was supported by PBs from both Curtis Mathews (Mike Guest) and Needham, who both recorded 1.91m. This brought to an end the under 23 and under 20 men’s events for the first day and left Ramsay leading the under 23 competition with Hall in second place in the under 20 competition.

It was then the turn of the senior men to high jump and more bests followed as Richard Reeks led the field with a first time clearance at a new personal best height of 2.09m, followed by Lane equalling his best of 2.03m and Gregory reaching a new best of 1.94m.

After fouling all three jumps in the long jumo, Ebony Wake (Julie Hollman) recorded a PB in the 800m and was accompanied by Devon Byrne (Emily Parker), who recorded the fastest time of the day with 2:18.04 and Westwood, who recorded her fourth PB of the day to ensure a best ever score (3761 points) by a margin of 119 points.  Marilyn Nwawulor (Lloyd Cowan) had also performed steadily during the day and added one point to her best from the England Championships earlier in the month.

Day two started where day one had finished with Gregory (8.17), Lane (8.07) and Reeks (8.00) all recording 60m hurdles bests and this was followed by the senior women’s hurdles, competing against a very strong Dutch contingent including Nadine Broersen, who had placed tenth in the 2013 World Championships.  The British contingent was led by Kara Drew (Minichiello) who recorded 8.35 seconds to place second.

They were followed by the under 20 men where Hall again produced a lifetime best time of 8.14 seconds to maintain his challenge.  The senior men were now vaulting and with Bryant and Reeks coming close to equalling their bests, Lane clearing 4.90m and Gregory going over 5.00m hopes were rising of a British victory. 

Moe Sasegbon (Hollman) had the best High Jump by the British team but the crowd were now treated to an outstanding display of high jumping by Broersen as she cleared 1.90m and then followed this with an event leading 14.93m shot. Jo Rowland (Grant) was the best of the British team with a PB of 13.71m, however the three Dutch scoring athletes were now in the top three places.

The under 23 and under 20 men then took centre stage with the pole vault and with Davies adding 40cm to his best with 3.80, Hall adding 13cm to his with 4.20m and Thomas Howlett (Grant) equalling his best of 4.00m the GB & NI were closing the gap on the Spain. Ramsay recorded a PB of 4.60m to consolidate his lead in the under 23 competition and Needham equalled this for a strong British performance. 

In the senior women’s long jump, Grace Clements (Grant) recorded a near best performance to add to her other steady performances throughout the day, she found herself in fourth place with just the 800m to go.

The senior men were the first to run their 1000m and expectations were high that Lane could break the British record and that the GB & NI could actually record the highest score ever achieved in this fixture. After a well-paced race it was announced that he had broken the record held by Alex Kruger since 1995 by four points and that the team had indeed produced the highest ever score in the meeting by a margin of 297 points.

This result left the senior women needing to stay within 22 seconds (between three athletes) of some very strong very strong Dutch runners for GB & NI to achieve an overall victory in the senior match.  Rowland ran in the second heat and came close to her best and this was followed by strong runs in the final heat from Clements and Drew to keep the loss to only 11 seconds and ensure overall victory for the GB & NI senior team.

The final races of the weekend were the under 20 men’s 1000m and Davies recorded the fastest time of 2:45.32 to ensure an overall PB score of 5067. Hall ran close to his best but couldn’t quite get away from the competition leader and ended the day in second place with the third best score ever by a British under 20 with 5392. This was followed by the under 23 race and Ramsay made no mistake as he recorded the fastest time of the entire day with 2:36.84 to ensure his victory and a score of 5700 to place second on the UK all-time list for under 23 and ninth on the senior all-time list.

The standard of the GB & NI men was such that all four senior men plus Ramsay are now in the all-time top 10 in the UK for indoor heptathlon.

For full results, click here.