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UK Athletics
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Top prize goes four ways – Action from the UK Challenge Final

Graham Hedman, UK Challenge Final
Hedman on his way to victory in the men's 400m

9th August 2008


The McCain UK Challenge Golden Challenge prize fund was split 4 ways on this rainy Saturday, with wins from Helen Pryer, Vicky Griffiths, Carl Myerscough and Michael Allen, in their respective events, all securing a £1,250 share of the £5,000 pot, enough to bring a smile to any competitor on such a gloomy day.


This year’s McCain UK Challenge final was contested under grey skies and relentless rain at the home of Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow, the weather making sure that today was not going to be easy on the track and in the field for competitors.


In a day that was saw personal bests hard to come by, Lucy Onyeforo (Enfield and Haringey AC) produced that ray of sunshine in difficult conditions, to clinch the 100m title for Denise Ose (Herne Hill Harriers), with a time of 11.88. Onyeforo, on her first full season back after 5 years out reflected on the UK Challenge as being a great opportunity for athletes not on the radar for international competition, but who are up and coming. In the men’s 100m, Mark Findlay (Newham and Essex Beagles) beat Leevan Yearwood (Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets) by a hundredth of a second to the title, with a time of 10.32sec.


The weather clearly had an effect on both high jump competitions, with such depth in the men’s competition apparent on the start list, Robbie Grabarz (Bedford and County) was able to come away victorious, clearing a height of 2.15m. Grabarz commented on how much he has enjoyed this season’s Challenge series, and the level of competition he has faced. Nick Stanisavljevic (Woking AC) and Rob Mitchell (Sale Harriers Manchester) were second and third with clearances of 2.11m and 2.07m.


Mike Floyd (Sale Harriers Manchester) claimed the top spot in the men’s hammer with a distance of 68.16m, with club mate Alex Smith second with a best throw of 66.34. In the women’s event, Carys Parry (Rhondda AAC) won out in the rain with a throw 63.47m.


Noni Mordi (Shaftesbury Barnet) jumped over 40cm further than her nearest rival, in the women’s triple jump, with a distance of 13.39m (+2.8), with Stephanie Aneto (Woodford Green and Essex Ladies) jumping 12.95m (+2.6) and Mordi’s club mate Nadia Williams jumping 12.94m (+5.5). On his home turf, Julian Golley jumped 15.99 (+5.3) in the men’s competition, with Tosin Oke (Woodford Green and Essex Ladies) and Gary White (Cardiff AAC) claiming second and third with distances of 15.83 (+2.6) and 15.46 (+2.2) respectively.


In her first competition of the day, Eden Francis (Brichfield Harriers) won the women’s shot put, 15.81m, with Carl Myerscough (Blackpool) 20.18m winning the men’s event.


The men’s long jump, JJ Jegede (Newham and Essex Beagles) pushed club mate Chris Kirk into second, with a distance of 7.72 (+4.9), Kirk posting a distance of 7.42 (+3.3). Jegede was happy with his consistency, after posting another jump in the in the region of 7.70m, despite the weather making it hard for all the competitors. Amy Woodman (Birchfield Harriers) claimed the top spot in the women’s event, 5.91 (+3.7). The season is not over for Woodman, who is still looking for competition, in warmer climes, she hopes.


Last year’s Discus champion, Emeka Udechuku (Newham and Essex Beagles) was beaten to second place, where Abdul Buhari (Woodford Green and Essex Ladies), after a throw of 57.97m. The absence of Phillippa Roles left the way clear for Emma Carpenter (Exeter Harriers) to take the title in the women’s event, with a best throw of 50.18m.


Katy Watts (City of Portsmouth AC) was pushed close Rosie Semenytsh (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Houslow) in the women’s javelin competition, with throws of 47.25 and 47.16, respectively. Michael Allen’s (Trafford AC) throw of 73.51m was clear of the rest of the field in the men’s competition.


Louise Butterworth (Birchfield Harriers) was 17cm ahead of her nearest rival, Emma Lyons (Sale Harriers) with a victorious clearance of 4.01m in the women’s pole vault. There were 3 competitors, however, in the men’s pole vault, sitting on the same clearance of 4.76m. Christian North (Woodford Green and Essex Ladies) was declared the winner on count back with Max Eaves (Blackpool) second and Paul Walker (Sale Harriers), third.


Mordi, UK Challenge Final 2008
Mordi, UK Challenge Final 2008

Tim Abeyie (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) came past the post first in the men’s 200m, and was happy with the 21.08 (+1.0) he record, despite the driving rain. Abeyie commented on the season, but is looking forward to a little rest and recovery for the rest of the summer before the start of the indoor season. Helen Pryer (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) did what she had to do to win the women’s 200m, and was happy with a new stadium record of 23.67, and is also looking forward to month of after a long, but successful season.


Ben Sumner (Enfield & Haringey AC) beat Steven Green, who was chasing a share of the Golden Challenge prize fund, with a time of 51.42 in the men’s 400m Hurdles. In the women’s race Team Southampton’s Sain Scott came in first with a time of 59.09.


Dawn Wilson (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) enjoyed success in the 400m, with a time of 54.96, it was nearly a clear second ahead of the rest of the field. In the men’s race, Graham Hedman (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) showed his quality also, with a time of 47.91.

In the women’s 100m hurdles, Gemma Bennett (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) was pushed all the way by Zara Hohn (Wakefield Harriers & AC) and Gemma Werrett (Rugby & Northampton AC), but came out on top with a time of 13.49 (+1.2). In the 110m hurdles for men, Will Sharman (Belgrave Harriers) commented on his disappointment at not making the Olympic team, despite his personal best being within the qualifying time, but was satisfied with coming away with the event’s top prize, in a time of 13.67 (+0.6).


Moving onto the significant races at the BMC meeting, which followed the UK Challenge final saw Vicky Griffiths (Liverpool Harriers) win in the 800m, with a time of 2:05.35. The men’s 800m, Mark Mitchell’s time of 1:50.27 was enough to see him finish first in the event.


The rain continued well into the evening, making this seem like a late evening in autumn, but that didn’t stop Chris Warburton (Notts AC) and Nicola Gauld (Aberdeen AAC) win in their 1500m races, with times of 3.48.59 and 4.17.91 respectively.


In the women’s 5000m, Vicky Gill (Aldershot Farnham & District AC) was victorious in the now cold and dark stadium, with a time of 16:44.00. Matt Janes, in the men’s event, finished first with a time of 14:15.51. The men’s and women’s 3000m Steeplechase events were won by Adam Bowden, 8:44.55, and Emily Brown, 11:18.72


So the curtain fell on another UK Challenge series, with some new names, and familiar faces putting on a great show in the shrouding gloom of the Thames Valley Athletics Centre. Our eyes, however, can now shift from this exciting prelude, to events in far off shores.       


For Full BMC Results, please visit the following link;