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Rhona Auckland
18 May 2015 

Shanghai Diamond League, China, 17 May

There were mixed fortunes for the British contingent in the second Diamond League meeting of the year in Shanghai on Sunday. Olympic, European and Commonwealth long jump champion Greg Rutherford (Coach: Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) finished seventh one place ahead of his long-time domestic rival Chris Tomlinson. 2011 European Indoor 800m champion Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) finished a solid fifth in her first two-lap race of the summer.

Rutherford opened promisingly enough, with a leap of 8.05m (+1.1), but that proved to be his best effort with four successive fouls. Russia’s world champion Aleksandr Menkov won with 8.27m, just ahead of US 2015 world leader Jeff Henderson (8.26m), with China’s Wang Jianan landing an Asian junior record of 8.25m in third. Tomlinson was eighth with 7.80m (+0.2). “I’m annoyed that I kept fouling,” said Rutherford. “I moved the run-up back a metre to fit in my speed but sadly I couldn’t time it right. Fouls obviously don’t win competitions but there’s plenty to work with and soon enough I’ll be ready”

Meadows was fifth in 2:01.37 in her first 800m race since the European indoor semi-finals in Prague in March, a satisfactory season opener over two-laps for the 34-year-old Wigan Harrier. Kenya’s world and Commonwealth champion Eunice Sum was a clear winner in 2:00.73, ahead of Morocco’s Malika Akkaoui, who clocked 2:00.73 as runner-up.

The performance of the meeting came in the women’s 5,000m, Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana winning in 14:14.33 - just 3.18 seconds outside Tirunesh Dibaba’s world record and the third fastest time in history. The 23-year-old World Championship bronze medallist hit the front at around halfway and covered the last 3,000m in an incredible 8:25.58. Kenya’s Viola Kibiwot was a distant second in 14:40.32.

Other highlights included a decisive high jump victory for Qatari world indoor champion Mutaz Essa Barshim with a 2015 world lead clearance of 2.38m over Ukrainian world outdoor champion Bohdan Bondarenko (2.32m). There was a surprise win in the women’s 100m, Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare beating a loaded field in 10.98, while Grenada’s Olympic champion Kirani James was a decisive winner of the men’s 400m in 44.40.



Gavardo International, Italy, 17 May

World and European Indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty (Linford Christie) clocked a personal best and 2015 British and European Lead with a fine 100m victory. The Gateshead Harrier won in 10.09 (+0.6), an improvement of 0.01 on his two-year-old lifetime best. Filippo Tortu set an Italian under 17 record of 10.33 in second place, while 2004 Olympic 4x100m relay gold medallist Mark Lewis-Francis (Tony Hadley) was fifth in 10.56. European Junior 200m silver medallist Leon Reid won the 100m B race in 10.34 (+1.4). That represented an improvement of 0.09 on the lifetime best the 20-year-old Birchfield Harrier clocked in the British League meeting at Sheffield last weekend.

Matthew Hudson-Smith (Hadley), the Birchfield Harrier who won European Championship 400m silver behind Martyn Rooney (Rana Reider) in Zurich last summer, was victorious in his opening individual one-lap race of the season. The 20-year-old won in 45.79, the second fastest 400m time by a Briton in 20.15, behind the 45.42 recorded by Delano Williams (Neil Harrison) in Kingston earlier this month.



Highgate Harriers’ Night of the 10,000m PBs, Parliament Hill, 16 May

Rhona Auckland (Joyce Hogg) and Jonny Mellor (Steve Vernon) took the honours in the third edition of Highgate Harriers’ Saturday evening 10,000m fest, incorporating the 2015 British Championships and Trials at the distance. With music blasting over the PA system and former 10,000m world record holder Dave Bedford and five-time world snooker champion and 34:54 10km runner Ronnie O’Sullivan on hand to present the prizes, Auckland continued the rich vein of form that carried to victory in the Under 23 race at the European Cross Country Championships in Samakov, Bulgaria, in December and to a 19th place finish in the senior women’s race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China, in March. The 22-year-old University of Edinburgh medical student swept past long-time leader Jess Coulson (Mick Woods) with 300m to go, sprinting to victory in 32:28.32.

In doing so, Auckland moved to third in the UK under 23 all-time list, and improved her best time by over 40 seconds to secure a place in the GB & NI team for the European Under 23 Championships in Tallinn in July. Coulson, who picked up the pace at 6,000m and built up a lead of seven seconds before being reeled in by Auckland, ran a lifetime best of 32:41.59 in second place. Marathon specialist Aly Dixon (self-coached) sliced more than a minute off her previous best with 32:55.36 in third. Fourth-placed Becky Straw (Bud Baldaro) was also inside the European under 23 qualifying time with 33:52.91.

In the men’s race, Mellor wound up the pace from four laps out and won in 28:46.80 from Welsh Commonwealth Games representative Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans), the runner-up in 28:55.24, and Ben Lindsay (Scott Overall), who was third in 29:02.93. Early leader Jonathan Davies (Ron McKim) finished inside the European under 20 qualifying time with 29:24.07. In the B race Aldershot Farnham and District’s Jack Rowe (Mick Woods) also finished inside the European Junior mark, clocking 30: 23.29.



European Cup Race Walking, Murcia 17 May

Tom Bosworth (Andi Drake) finished in the highest ever position by a British athlete in the men's 20km. Despite the shade being cast by the tall buildings, the heat made conditions very challenging. The Leeds-based athlete made a conservative start passing the 5km point in 20.56 in 24th. He picked up the pace at the 7km point and went through the halfway point in 41.35 holding 22nd place. However he went through a bad patch between 14 and 17km but he managed to rally in the last 3km, reeling off 4.07, 4.06 and 4.01 for the last 3km as he picked up six places. Bosworth said: "I am pleased with how the race went, but my hip just locked up at the 14km point just as I was starting to really move through the field. However it is another Beijing A standard".

Callum Wilkinson (Mick Graham) smashed his personal best and was inside the European Juniors qualifying time (43.00) in clocking a magnificent 42.49 for 12th place in Murcia. This moves him to on the UK all-time list. Behind him Guy Thomas (Peter Selby) also clocked a big new personal best in 43.40 for 17th as the team finished 6th - the highest ever placing by a British team in any event in the European Cup.

Commonwealth champion Jo Atkinson (Maureen Jackson) found the going tough in the women’s 20km as the temperatures were in the high 20s by the end of the race. She dug in and passed the halfway mark in 52.00. The second half was a battle of survival and Atkinson managed to hold it together to come home in 37th place in 1.44.28. She said afterwards: "It was tough out there, I just did not have anything in the tank today.”

In the junior women’s 10km, Emma Achurch (Steve Arnold) found racing in the hottest conditions of the day very tough and finished 24th in 53.35.


Loughborough International, 17 May

World T38 100m champion Sophie Hahn (Joseph McDonnell) clocked her first sub-13 second performance, but unfortunately for the world record holder, her time of 12.93 was into an illegal +2.8 tailwind. T46 100m IWAS World Junior Games gold medallist Polly Maton (Colin Baross) followed Hahn home in 13.24, with Olivia Breen (Tawiah-Dodoo) and Laura Sugar (Femi Akinsanya) making up the next two positions in 13.46 and 13.49 respectively.

Dan Greaves (Jim Edwards) was involved in the men’s discus throwing 56.23m and Aled Davies (Ryan Spencer-Jones) was a guest in the men’s shot put, throwing out to 14.95m.

The full report on the Loughborough International is available here: 



Lee Valley Sprint Series Open, 13 May 

IPC European 100m bronze medallist Olivia Breen (Tawiah-Dodoo) ran her fastest season opener clocking 13.62 over 100m and is looking set to close in on her lifetime best of 13.47 set in May last year.


Loughborough Students Trials Match, 13 May

Sam Ruddock (Jim Edwards) added nearly half a metre to his lifetime best in the F35 shot put with a throw of 12.47 representing a huge improvement for the former sprinter turned thrower.

Active Newham Open Series, 13 May

Afghanistan war veteran Dave Henson MBE took half a second off his T42 200m personal best with a 27.34 clocking in Newham in only his 10th competitive race as a sprinter.



Hallesche Werfertage, Halle, Germany 16 May 

British hammer throwing is enjoying a boom time at present and the early-season joy continued at the Halle Throws Day meeting with Nick Miller (Jon Baumann) exceeding the World Championship qualifying standard for a second time in a fortnight and Taylor Campbell (Paul Dickenson) breaking the British Junior record for the second time in three weeks. Miller threw 76.21m to finish runner-up in the senior men’s competition behind reigning world champion Pawel Fajdek of Poland, who won with 82.76m, a 2015 world lead and meeting record. For Miller, the performance, in cold and wet conditions, backed up the 76.97m effort that earned the 22-year-old Border Harrier the UK under 23 record at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto on 2 May.

Campbell, the 18-year-old Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow athlete who placed ninth in the World Junior Championship final in Eugene last summer, finished second in the U20 hammer with 76.85m, improving the British Junior mark of 76.81m that he achieved with the 6kg U20 implement at the Loughborough Students Trials meeting on 25 April.

Commonwealth Games discus bronze medallist Jade Lally (Andrew Neal) followed up her winning performance in the Jamaica International Invitational IAAF World Challenge meet with another win, this time throwing 57.79m. British indoor shot champion Eden Francis (Glenys Morton) made a solid start to her outdoor season, finishing fourth with a throw of 16.84m in the shot put, while Sophie Hitchon (Tore Gustafsson) was sixth in the women’s hammer with 68.41m.



British Milers’ Club Trafford Grand Prix, Manchester, 16 May

Commonwealth and European 800m silver medallist Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider) had to settle for second place behind Blackburn Harrier Alison Leonard (Bud Baldaro) in her first two-lap outing of 2015 in the BMC Grand Prix at Longford Stadium, Trafford. Leonard led from the bell and finished a clear winner in 2:01.25, Sharp, running her first 800m race since the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakesh last September, was three strides behind in 2:02.23, with  Adelle Tracey (Craig Winrow) third in 2:02.53.

Theo Blundell (Eddie Cockayne), a World Junior Championship semi-finalist last summer, was an impressive winner of the men’s 800m in 1:47.84, a new personal best. The 19-year-old Birchfield Harrier powered clear in the final 100m to win from Norway’s Andreas Roth, runner-up in 1:48.88, and fellow teenager Richard Charles, who was third in 1:49.06.

Scottish Cross Country champion Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton) recorded his second personal best in Manchester in less than a week. Six days after his 29:09 clocking for seventh place in the Great Manchester Run 10km, the 23-year-old Central AC athlete won the men’s 1500m in 3:44.57 – ahead of fellow Scot Chris Watson, who  took second place in 3:44.85, a PB, just 0.01 ahead of Derby’s Richard Weir, third in 3:44.86.

In the 1500m B race, there was a heartening return to track action by 2009 World Championship semi-finalist James Brewer (Craig Winrow). Running his first track race for two years, the 26-year-old Cheltenham athlete won in 3:46.25. Welsh champion Melissa Courtney (Mark Pauley) front ran to victory in the women’s 1500m prevailing in 4:15.89. In the wake of the Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier, 17-year-old Rosie Johnson (Eddie Bairstow) finished inside the European Under 20 qualifying standard with 4:18.39.

Leeds City’s Commonwealth Games finalist Racheal Bamford (Mike Baxter) had to run solo for most of the 3,000m steeplechase, winning in 10:07.36. Aldershot’s Laura Gent (Mick Woods) was a distant runner up in 10:57.74.



Multistars Decathlon, Florence, 15-16 May

There were two Britons in the top five of this IAAF World Combined Events Challenge series event. City of Sheffield’s Liam Ramsey (Mike Corden) finished runner up to Poland’s Pawel Wiesiolek (7,863 pts) with 7,752 points, while GB Junior champion David Hall (Ian Grant) placed fifth with a lifetime best tally of 7,517. Ramsey’s score was just 70 points shy of his personal best, but notched individual bests in the 400m (47.56) and javelin (51.05m).

Hall, who was 13th in the decathlon at last year’s World Junior Championships, clocked a scorching 46.46 in the 400, smashing the meeting record of 46.83 set by fellow Briton Mark Bishop in 1989.



PAC-12 Championships, Westwood, California, USA, 16 May

Jax Thoirs (Pat Licari) won the pole vault with a new Scottish record height of 5.65m. In doing so, the 22-year-old Glasgow City athlete and University of Washington student nailed the qualifying mark for the World Championships and claimed top spot in the European Under 23 rankings.


Georgetown Cayman Invitational, Cayman Islands, 16 May

Former world junior champion Delano Williams (Neil Harrison) clocked the fastest 200m by a British athlete in 2015. The 21-year-old finished fourth in 20.40 (+0.00) in a race won by Anaso Jobodwana in 20.06, a South African record.



Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic, Los Angeles, 14 May

Commonwealth Games finalist Lennie Waite (Steve Sisson) clocked the fastest 3,000m steeplechase this year by a British woman, finishing fourth in 9:46.91. The Scot’s performance came before the annual middle distance meet at Occidental College in Los Angeles was abandoned because of heavy rain and lightning midway through the opening men’s 1500m heat.



Inter Counties Mountain Running Challenge, Betws-y-Coed, 16 May

Scotland West’s Andrew Douglas (Sophie Dunnett) and Yorkshire’s Emma Clayton (Andrew Henderson) emerged with the individual honours from the opening leg of the British Athletics Mountain Challenge series. Competing on the North Wales course to be used for the World Championships on 19 September, Douglas won the men’s race in 45:26, from, Middlesex’s Chris Smith (46:15) and Yorkshire’s Tom Adams (47:17). Yorkshire won the team race with 18 points, ahead of Scotland East (36) and Scotland West (39).

Clayton won the women’s race in 40.29, with Cumbrian duo Annie Conway (40:35) and Sarah McCormack (41:05) second and third. Cumbria took the team prize with 12 points, ahead of Yorkshire (14) and Scotland East (23).