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UK Athletics
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Udechuku’s driving ambition leads UK Challenge Final

Athlete of the Series Emeka Udechuku clinched the use of an Alfa Romeo GT sports car for a year at the UK Challenge Final at Crystal Palace on Saturday 25 August.


And he shared the UK Challenge £5,000 bonus with his Woodford Green with Essex Ladies clubmate Andy Frost, high jumper Samson Oni (Belgrave Harriers), hammer thrower Zoe Derham (Birchfield Harriers) and discus thrower Philippa Roles (Sale Harriers Manchester) on a gloriously sunny end to the 51-competition Challenge series.


The outstanding performances of the afternoon were provided by Oni and Derham.


Oni equalled the UK Challenge high jump record of 2.28m held by Tom Parsons, who is part of the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team at the World Championships in Osaka.


Derham improved her UK Challenge discus record from 65.68m to 66.40m – and then began to set her sights on the UK record of 68.93m held by her coach, Lorraine Shaw. “I’m sure Lorraine would be happy if I beat it – she would still have a hand on the record,” said Zoe.


In addition 20-year-old Lianne Clarke (Cardiff AAC) extended her Welsh record to 52.68m – and promised more improvements in the future. She explained: “I’m about to have my first full-time coach in three years, Nigel Bevan at UWIC, so I should really improve after a winter’s training.”


As darkness descended on Crystal Palace, Under 17 Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot, Farnham and District AC) provided the most outstanding performance of the BMC Nike Grand Prix Final, incorporating the UK Challenge endurance events finals.


Inspired by having watched Jo Pavey’s courageous 10,000m run in Osaka earlier in the day, AFD’s Mighty Atom lowered her 5000m best by 19 seconds to 16:09.44, within four seconds of the age group record held by Emily Pidgeon (Gloucester AC). It earned Purdue second place behind one of her training mates at the UK Athletics Endurance Performance Centre at St Mary’s University Twickenham, Vicky Gill (Chorley Harriers).


Katrina Wootton (Bedford and County AC) completed a rare 1500m hat-trick, scoring a front-running victory to follow her successes in this year’s national championships both indoors and out.


Gareth Balch (University of Bath) timed his 800m finish to perfection to pip American Will Fitts in 1:46.75 a week after he ran a Worlds B standard to prove he is fully over the hamstring injury that wrecked the crucial part of his season.


In the attached track results, the 800m and above are compiled from the combined best performances by UK Challenge finalists in a number of graded races across the appropriate distance. For the full results and true race positions please refer to the BMC website, http://www.britishmilersclub.com/.