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shaftesbury and birchfieldtop club:Connect standings at sainsbury's british championships

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Shara Proctor

6 July 2015

Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers were victorious in the men’s Club:Connect Championship while Birchfield won the women’s title at the Sainsbury’s British Championships on 3-5 July 2015.

Club:Connect is a British Athletics initiative with the objective of recognising and rewarding the significant contribution made by clubs in supporting athletes throughout all levels of their athletics journey.

It was a four point victory margin for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers who claimed 75 points to top the table and the club owe much of their success to three outstanding 19-year-olds.

The first of those was Zharnel Hughes (coach: Glen Mills) who set the tone on Saturday by streaking away to take victory in the 200m in a time of 20.42 seconds - just his second race on British soil (after his heat on Friday). Hughes was cleared to represent Great Britain last month and delighted the crowd with a commanding run to beat Danny Talbot (Daniel Cossins) and James Ellington (Rana Reider) to the title.

After the race Hughes said: “The atmosphere was great today, it’s good to get the support of the crowd.

“I’m feeling good at the moment and know I can run sub-20 this year, definitely.”

Another young Shafesbury athlete exceeded all expectations by sprinting to bronze in the men’s 100m. Ojie Edoburun (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) saw off the challenge of Harry Aikens-Aryeetey (Reider) and Andrew Robertson (Cossins) to clinch third place in a time of 10.27 seconds - Edoburun will travel to Eskilstuna, Sweden on the 16 July to compete in the European Junior Championships.

Another Sweden-bound athlete, Kyle Langford (George Harrison), took a mightily impressive victory in the men’s 800m with a 52 second closing lap, holding off Michael Rimmer (Jon Bigg) in the home straight. Langford later said: “It was the happiest moment of my life.”

Shaftesbury men were also extremely competitive in the field with Dan Bramble (Frank Attoh) – long jump silver, Nathan Fox (Attoh) – triple jump bronze, Zane Duquemin (John Hillier) – shot put and discus silver and Chris Bennett (Mick Jones) – hammer bronze, all picking up valuable points.

For the women, it was Birchfield who took a dominant victory. Their 54 points was 19 more than closest challengers Enfield and Haringey.

A strong field contingent included Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) who took gold in the long jump with a 6.86m leap, Sineade Gutzmore (Aston Moore) who won the triple jump, Eden Francis (Glenys Morton), who picked up two silver medals in the shot put and discus, and Bethan Partridge (Moore) who sealed high jump bronze. On the track, Meghan Beesley (Nick Dakin) claimed silver behind Eilidh Child in the 400m hurdles in a time of 56.81 seconds.

Proctor said: “It was a good performance today. I just wanted to show the British crowd that I am back again.”

On Friday night (3 July) in Birmingham, the Club:Connect relays provided the perfect preamble to a fantastic British Championships.

In its most popular instalment to date, hundreds of young athletes gathered to compete in front of a warm crowd at the Alexander Stadium.

Birchfield and Halesowen shared equal spoils in the men’s 4x100m relay races; Birchfield winning the U20 and U17 races, while Halesowen took victory in the U15 and U13 age categories.

Four separate clubs ran out victorious in the women’s races. Rugby & Northampton won the U20 race, Cannock & Stafford won the U17 race, Birchfield took the U15s, and Halesowen triumphed in the U13 race.