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UK Athletics

Norwich Union Combined Events International

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Daniel Awde
Daniel Awde

Nine of the 16-strong Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team came up with their performances of their young lives in the Combined Events International for Under 23s and Under 20s against France and Spain at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre in North London on Saturday and Sunday 24 and 25 February.


Daniel Awde (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies), the English indoor champion, led the way by winning the Under 20 Men’s heptathlon with a record-breaking performance while the Norwich Union GB Under 20 Women produced some inspired 800m racing to come from behind and win their team competition.


Awde’s victorious points total of 5347 is a UK best performance by an Under 20 with junior implements. His weekend began sensationally with a 60m clocking of 7.02 seconds. The reason: he had got ‘a flier’ that was not picked up by officials. The French lodged a protest and, not surprisingly, a re-run was ordered. Awde clocked 7.21 – within three-hundredths of a second of his lifetime best – despite cramping-up at halfway. He went on to long jump 6.71m, put the shot a personal best of 12.68m and high jump 1.78m to finish the first day with 2813 points, his best first day by 122 points. He continued his sparkling form on the second day with two more PBs – 8.12 seconds in the 60m hurdles (with no hint of ‘a flier’) and 4.40m, his highest yet indoor vault, before ending with a 1000m run in 2:41.99.


Of his team mates, English indoor bronze medallist Joe Lancaster (Sale Harriers Manchester) finished eighth with a PB points total of 4883, which elevates him to 11th in the UK Junior Men’s all-time list. He did the 60m in 7.42 seconds, long jumped 6.43m, put the shot a PB of 12.03m, high jump a PB of 1.93m (8cm better than his previous highest indoor leap), achieved a 60m hurdles PB of 8.58 seconds, added a massive pole vault PB of 3.90m (from 3.75m) and closed with a 1000m in 2:58.06.


English indoor silver medallist Sam Worrall (Derby AC) was ninth with 4869 points, a personal best total that moves him up to 12th in the UK Junior Men’s all-time list. He opened his international career with three lifetime bests – 7.04 seconds in the 60m, 6.69m in the long jump and 12.89m in the shot before ending the first day with a 1.75m high jump. After opening the second day with a 60m hurdles in 8.88 seconds, he closed with two more PBs, 3.60m in the pole vault and 2:52.62 in the 1000m.


Matthew George (Vale of Aylesbury) experienced all emotions on his way to 10th place with 4476 points. After a 60m sprint in 7.61 seconds, he endured a nightmare of two fouls in the long jump before having to settle for 5.81m with his third and last chance to stay in the competition. He then recovered his nerve magnificently to add two personal bests: 14.00m in the shot and 1.75m for his best indoor high jump. On day two, he sprinted the 60m hurdles in 9.12 seconds and pole vaulted 3.40m before closing with his fastest yet 1000m, 2:50.32.


Under 20 Men team result: 1 France 15,719; 2 Norwich Union GB 15,099; 3 Spain 10,850.


Norwich Union GB erased a 273-point deficit in the final event of the Under 20 Women’s pentathlon to snatch a dramatic victory. Match result: 1 Norwich Union GB 11,305; 2 France 11,275; 3 Spain 9,702.


Jenny Lumley
Jenny Lumley

English indoor champion Jenny Lumley (Leeds City AC) led the way by finishing second overall with 3793 points, a personal best by 26 points that consolidates her in eighth place in the UK Junior Women’s all-time rankings. She opened with a PB of 9.31 seconds in the 60m hurdles, high jumped 1.74m, put the shot 10.19m, long jumped a PB of 5.63m and ran the 800m in 2:25.40.


English indoor silver medallist Hannah Francis-Smithson (Leeds City AC) finished fourth with 3776 points, a personal best by 63 points that takes her up to ninth in the UK all-time Junior Women’s rankings. She started with a 60m hurdles PB of 8.77 seconds, high jumped 1.65m, put the shot 9.35m, improved her long jump PB sensationally to 5.77m from 5.55m and logged a time of 2:25.15 in the 800m.


Caryl Granville (Carmarthen Harriers), who is fresh out of the Under 17 age group and was drafted into the team at late notice as replacement for Jade Surman – the Birchfield Harrier who finished sixth in the heptathlon at last summer’s World Junior Championships in Beijing – responded to the immense challenge brilliantly. She finished sixth with 3736 points, a PB by 214 points that places her 11th in the UK Junior Women’s all-time rankings. She opened with a 60m hurdles PB of 8.97 seconds, high jumped 1.65m, put the shot a PB of 8.79m, long jumped 5.70m, and ran 800m in 2:20.62.


English indoor pentathlon bronze medallist Amy Hill (City of Sheffield AC), who was feeling below par all weekend, sprinted the 60m hurdles in 9.09 seconds, equalled her high jump PB of 1.62m, put the shot 12.78m, long jumped 4.85m and did not start the 800m.


France gained 800m revenge in the Under 23 Women’s team competition. Norwich Union GB were 35 points ahead after four events – but were comprehensively out-run. Match result: 1 France 12,046; 2 Norwich Union GB 11,666; 3 Spain 7,522.


English indoor pentathlon champion Katia Lannon (Sale Harriers Manchester) led the way for the home team a week after starring in the UK Indoor City Challenge Final at Sheffield. She finished fourth with 3923 points. The Brunel University student opened with a 60m hurdles personal best of 8.85 seconds, high jumped 1.74m, put the shot 10.18m, long jumped 5.70m and covered 800m in 2:23.30.


Continuing her own impressive improvement, English indoor senior pentathlon women’s bronze medallist Gemma Weetman (Oswestry Olympians) took fifth place with a best yet total of 3903 points which makes her 12th best-ever Under 23 in the UK. She began with a 60m hurdles PB of 8.77 seconds, continued with a 1.62m high jump, put the shot a PB of 10.69m, long jumped 5.78m and responded gallantly to the French 800m assault with an indoor PB of 2:19.74.


Phyllis Agbo (Thames Valley Harriers) placed sixth overall with 3840 points: 8.64 seconds in the 60m hurdles, 1.59m high jump, 12.55m shot, 5.81m long jump and 2:34.35 800m.


Naida Bromley (Wakefield and District Harriers) placed 10th with 3009 points from only four events. She achieved a 60m hurdles personal best of 8.93 seconds, high jumped 1.62m, equalled her indoor shot PB of 12.24m, long jumped 5.32m but did not finish the 800m.


Norwich Union GB were also second in the Under 23 Men’s heptathlon: 1 France 16,577; 2 GB 15,527; 3 Spain 14,565.


English indoor senior champion Kevin Sempers (Belgrave Harriers) was fourth with 5302 points. He sprinted 60m in 7.17 seconds, long jumped 7.00m to equal his indoor personal best with his final chance after two fouls, put the shot 11.79m, high jumped 2.00m, clocked 8.22 seconds in the 60m hurdles, pole vaulted 4.00, and ran 1000m in 2:54.05.


Patrick Halcrow (Thurrock Harriers) was sixth with 5229 points, a personal best by 241 to move up to 14th on the UK Under 23 Men’s all-time list. He reeled off four PBs on the opening day – 7.20 seconds in the 60m, 6.76m in the long jump, 13.21m in the shot and 1.91m in the high jump. He went on to clock 8.15 seconds in the 60m hurdles, took his pole vault PB incredibly from 3.80m up to 4.20m and rounded-off with another PB, 3:02.57, in the 1000m.


Richard Reeks (Poole AC) finished ninth with 4996, a personal best by 253 points. He began with two PBs – 7.31 seconds in the 60m and 6.69m in the long jump – before putting the shot 10.23m and high jumping 2.00m. His fine form continued throughout the second day: 8.56 seconds equalled his PB in the 60 hurdles, 3.90m was his best yet pole vault and he concluded with yet another PB, 2:52.30, in the 1000m.


Craig Baker (Worthing and District AC) finished 11th with 4427 points despite drawing a blank in the pole vault. He opened his competition with a 60m best of 7.37 seconds, long jumped 6.57m, put the shot 11.36m and high jumped 2.00m – the first time in living memory three GB Under 23 men have got over that landmark height in the same combined events competition. On day two he followed 60m hurdles in 8.56 seconds by no-heighting in the pole vault, But far from quitting, he finished with a 1000m PB of 2:52.30 that summed-up the spirit of the team.


Darrell Bunn, UK Events Coach for heptathlon, described the GB Women’s performances as “overall very pleasing, very promising.” He added: “It’s been fantastic weekend after a productive winter’s ‘homework’ at the UK Athletics squad weekends. There is great teamwork. We had a lot of our strong people not in the team here but our quality continues to move upwards.”


Norwich Union GB team leader Ian Grant said: “One of the other exciting things from a future perspective is that Joe Lancaster and Sam Worrall are still Under 20s next year and Patrick Halcrow will still be in the Under 23s next year. Almost half the individual performances were PBs, which continues the upward trend combined events has demonstrated recently.”