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british juniors fly the flag in istanbul

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ECCCJ

23 September 2015

This year's European Champion Clubs Cup for Juniors was held in Istanbul on 19th September Blackheath & Bromley Harriers (women) and Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers (men) representing Great Britain. Both teams finished third during a successful competition in Turkey.

Conditions were challenging with the weather in the high 20s and a strong headwind for most of the day of between -3m and -6m/sec, which resulted in slower than expected times, particularly in the sprints.

Shaftesbury Barnet produced their best result since winning the event in 2012 by finishing a clear third behind Spain and Turkey. Gerald Matthew had an outstanding day in the sprints, with victory in the 100m and a close second in the 200m before being joined by Chris Castro, Andrew Amoah and Alando Alfred to anchoring the 4x100m team of to a surprise win.

There were convincing second places from James Hamblin in the hammer, Ethan Walsh in the pole vault and Ben Rochford in the 800m and a solid third place in the triple jump in a very tight competition by Alando Alfred. Top four finishes by Sam Hazel in the 400m, Mark Pearce in the 3000m and Alfie Ingham in the javelin also contributed to the points tally.

However it was team Captain Kyle Langford that produced perhaps the performance of the day. Putting aside a hectic season in which he won the European Junior 800m title and his subsequent selection for the World Championships in Beijing, he held on to win the 1500m against a top class field and then went on to record a fantastic victory in the 4x400m alongside teammates Sam Hazel, Billy Kelsey and Ben Rochford.

In the women's match, Blackheath and Bromley fielded a young team - only two members will be ineligible for next year's competition – but started steadily in the opening field events, with Victoria Wiltshire and Helena Coleman both finishing fourth in the hammer and pole vault respectively.

Divine Oladipo, fresh from her recent trip to Samoa for the Commonwealth Youth Games, then stepped up with a fine second place in the discus and Annie Davies clinched third in a very competitive triple jump competition.
As the track began to feature, Viv Olatunji took her chance to demonstrate what a fine sprinter she is with a win in the 100m. Further wins then followed from Cheriece Hylton in her own speciality event, the 400m, and then in the 200.

Niamh Bridson Hubbard picked up fourth in a tactical 800m and then returned to contest the 1500m and fought bravely up the home straight to secure third, while Molly Scott, in only her second competitive outing over the U20 heights and into a fierce headwind, finished a very creditable fourth in the sprint hurdles.

As the afternoon began to draw to a close, the final event scheduled before the relays was the 3000m, where Jess Keene rounded off a very successful summer with an extremely gutsy front-run win, taking 50m out of the field in the first two laps and holding it all the way to the tape.

Even without the Hyltons, B&B had a good sprint relay squad and with a demonstration of solid changes, their baton was duly delivered across the line by Olatunju in first place.

The 4x400m team comprised some very tired athletes – who between them had already raced 5,900m during the afternoon – and were just pipped for fifth on the line but held on to third overall behind the Turkish and Danish teams.