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Udechuku breaks British League discus record

Emeka Udechuku
Emeka Udechuku

Emeka Udechuku (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) continued his award-winning romp through the UK Challenge season by breaking the British League’s 10-year-old discus record at the Copthall Stadium, Barnet, on Saturday 4 August.


Less than 24 hours after being named the UK Challenge Athlete of the Month for July, he threw 63.37 metres in the British League Premiership – taking him past the B qualifying standard of 62.50m for the IAAF World Championships to be staged in Osaka.


It erases the previous league record of 62.10m set by Robert Weir (Birchfield Harriers) in August 1997. And it earns Udechuku another 228 points as he pursues major UK Challenge prizes.


It also provides a pleasant return for the officials at Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers who earned an £18,000 grant from the London Marathon Limited to level their throws area just outside the Copthall Stadium. “It’s as flat as a snooker table now,” said Shaftesbury Team Manager Geoff Morphitis.


At about the same time their women were completing a cleansweep of UK Women’s League victories at Grangemouth, City of Manchester men clinched the BAL title despite finishing fifth on the day. “We did it in memory of Alan Robertshaw and Frank Starkie, immensely important clubmen who died last year,” said Manchester men’s team manager Dean Hardman.


Premiership match result: 1 Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers 357; 2 Woodford Green with Essex Ladies 316; 3 Belgrave Harriers 291; 4 Birchfield Harriers 273; 5 City of Manchester 265; 6 City of Sheffield 246; 7 Newham and Essex Beagles 244; 8 Trafford AC 173. Overall league points: 1 Manchester 27; 2 Birchfield 24; 3 Woodford 23; 4 Shaftesbury 17 (1095); 5 Newham 17 (1059); 6 Belgrave 15; 7 Sheffield 14; 8 Trafford 7.


National One match result: 1 Enfield and Haringey 347; 2 Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow 312; 3 Thames Valley Harriers 279; 4 Harrow 271; 5 Cardiff 266; 6 Blackheath and Bromley 255; 7 Kent AC 252; 8 Border Harriers 147. Overall points: 1 Enfield and Hariney 31; 2 Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow 27; 3 Border 19; 4 Thames Valley Harriers 16.5; 5 Kent 16; 6 Harrow 14.5; 7 Cardiff 11; 8 Blackheath and Bromley 9.


National Two match result: 1 Gateshead Harriers 376; 2 Herne Hill Harriers 325; 3 City of Liverpool 318; 4 Swansea Harriers 300; 5 Derby AC 237; 6 Southend on Sea AC 232; 7 Bedford and County AC 216; 8 City of Edinburgh 153.


National Three match result: 1 Notts AC 382; 2 Basingstoke and Mid-Hants 362; 3 Kingston and Polytechnic 318; 4 Medway and Maidstone AC 294; 5 Team Southampton 254; 6 Crawley AC 249; 7 Rugby and Northampton AC 168; 8 City of Stoke AC 131.


Premiership highlights…


100m/200m: Despite strong head winds, Chris Lambert (Belgrave) scored a winning double – 10.79 seconds (102 points) in the 100m (wind: -3.9) and 21.05 (170 points) in the 200m (wind: -2.1).


400m: Rabah Yusuf (Newham and Essex Beagles), still awaiting a GB passport, romped home in 46.60 (176 points), more than a second clear of the opposition.


110m hurdles: Richard Alleyne (Woodford) powered home in 13.99 seconds (wind: -2.2) for 176 points, watched by UK No.1 Andy Turner (Manchester), who was second in the 200m in 21.45.


High jump: Samson Oni (Belgrave) won the match with 2.23m (205 points) while American Jamie Nieto cleared 2.27m competing as a guest.


Long jump: With strong winds at their backs down the back straight, Leigh Smith (Birchfield) won with 7.64m (184 points) with a wind speed of +2.7 and Steve Small (City of Sheffield) was second with 7.60m (180 points / wind: +4.9).


Shot: USA star Garrett Johnson won for Shaftesbury with 20.07m (226 points).


Hammer: Andy Frost (Woodford) maintained his Challenge leadership by winning the Premiership with 72.27m (206 points) with Mick Jones (Belgrave) second with 65.61m (173 points) and Simon Bown (Newham) third with 65.32m (171 points).


Javelin: Nick Nieland (Shaftesbury) won with 73.21m (182 points).


City of Manchester completed their domination of this season’s UK Women’s League Division One despite providing only three A-event winners at Grangemouth – Tatum Nelson in the 400m (54.15 seconds), Ruth Watson in the 800m (a season’s best 2:05.29) and Laura Whittingham in the javelin (50.48m).


Match result: 1 City of Manchester 216; 2 Edinburgh 201; 3 Shaftesbury Barnet 179; 4 Trafford 156; 5 Birchfield 154; 6 Woodford Green with Essex Ladies 138; 7 Victoria Park Glasgow 127; 8 Cardiff 42. Overall points: 1 City of Manchester 24; 2 Trafford 19; equal 3 Edinburgh and Shaftesbury Barnet 16 each; 5 Birchfield 15; 6 Woodford Green with Essex Ladies 9; 7 Victoria Park Glasgow 6; 8 Cardiff 3.


BAL National One highlights…


400m: Conrad Williams (Kent AC) clocked 46.85 seconds for 166 points.


400m hurdles: Ben Sumner (Enfield and Haringey) clinched the Man of the Match Award by clocking 51.10 seconds (177 points), 2.31 seconds clear of his nearest rival.


Discus: Fresh from his European Junior Championships debut for the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team, Brett Morse (Cardiff AAC) won with 55.65m, the longest ever throw by a Welsh Junior with the 2kg implement.


In National Two…


400m: Following his international debut at last month’s European Junior Championships, Nigel Levine (Bedford and County AC) romped to victory over his elders at Derby in 47.29 seconds, almost two seconds clear of the field.


In National Three, Notts AC won the match and clinched promotion thanks to winning all but one of the flat A races: Paul Judson triumphed in the 100m (10.77) and 200m (21.33), Chris Warburton the 800m (1:52.80), Bruce Raeside the 1500m (3:54.97) and Martin Whitehouse the 5000m (14:50.65). And Nick Talbot added maximum points in the 3000m steeplechase (9:25.59).


Decathlete Ben Hazell did a heptathlon-plus to help Basingstoke and Mid Hants into second place. He won the discus (46.44m), was second in the long jump (6.58m), third in both high jump (1.85m) and javelin (52.78m), was eighth in the hammer (25.89m) and was fourth B in the pole vault (2.20m). All rounded off with a leg of the 4x100m.


The surprise of the UK Women’s League matches on Sunday 5 August occurred when Philippa Roles (Sale Harriers Manchester) made a guest appearance in Division Four at Ashford – and threw the discus 55.70m to earn 184 Challenge points, enough to take her to the top of the rankings.