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Day 1 of Combined Events International in Ashford

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26 July 2008





This summer’s Norwich Union U20/U23 Combined Events International kicked of at the Julie Rose Stadium amid blue skies and searing heat, with action on the track and field raising the temperature further.


The men’s U23 and U20 100m began proceedings, where Oliver McNeillis (Birchfield) taking top spot in his heat with 10.59, Ricardo Beckford pushing him close coming in at 10.94. Local boy Martin Brockman (Maidstone and Medway), chasing hometown glory this weekend, coming in 2nd in his heat with a time of 11.50. In fact both debutants in the U23 category impressed, with Peter Glass (North Down AC) coming in marginally behind Brockman in 3rd, with a time of 11.51. The U20 were hit by the withdrawal of Will Lambourne in the first event. Great British interests continued, however, with Ben Gibb, Ben Gregory and Ashley Bryant 5th, 6th and 5th in their respective heats, with times of 11.92, 11.94 and 11.37.


Catherine Holdsworth shone in her first event in Ashford, the U23 100m hurdles, striding to a time of 13.69, Meghan Beesley (Birchfield), back in competition after her bronze medal in Bydgoszcz, finished 4th with a time of 14.25. In the second heat of the women’s under 23 category, Gemma Weetman and Serita Shone finished 5th and 8th respectively, with times of 15.40 and 18.58


In the women’s U20 100m hurdles, Alice Lennox, Katarina Thompson, Kaneeshe Johnson and Eleanor Markendale all posted respectable times of 15.05, 15.51, 14.80 and 15.18.


McNeillis continued to impress GB supporters, posting a jump of 7.13 in the U23 long jump. It was his first jump of the event, from which he retired from thereafter, claiming the 2nd spot. Beckford couldn’t find the extra 2cm to steal that place from his team mate, with a best jump of 7.12 for 3rd. Glass and Brockman claimed 8th and 7th with best jumps posted of 6.58m and 6.77m.


Ashley Bryant’s best of 6.85m in the men’s U20 Long Jump was good enough to earn him 3rd place, with Ben Gregory and Ben Gibb finishing 4th and 6th with best jumps of 6.62m and 6.76m.


It was hard work for the GB representatives however in both the men’s U20 and U23 shot putt competitions. In the U20 age group Gibb and Gregory managing throws of 12.51m and 12.49 for 6th and 7th, and Bryant managing a throw if 12.30 to finish 13th in a tight competition. Glass managed the best throw of the British contingent, with a throw of 11.82m, finishing 9th. Brockman, McNeillis and Beckford finished 11th, 13th and 15th respectively, with throws of 11.56, 11.31 and 10.22.


The women’s U23 High Jump saw Beesley and Holdsworth share 6th position with best clearances of 1.66. Weetman and Shone shared 14th position, with clearance 1.54m. The U20 competition, running simultaneously, saw Katarina Thompson excel, with a final height cleared of 1.78m, clinching her 2nd place. Lennox was close behind, with a clearance of 1.66 for 4th and with Markendale and Johnson clearing 1.63m and 1.60 for final placing of 7th and 10th respectively.

The afternoon’s U20 Women’s Shot Putt competition reflected the men’s earlier today, with results suggesting that it was tough going with the shot at the end of a long season under the Ashford sun. Lennox provided the longest throw of the British quartet, with a throw 9.97m placing her 10th. Thompson came in 11th with a throw of 9.94m, Markendale was placed 13th with 9.02m and Johnson was placed in 15th with a throw of 8.94m.


Catherine Holdsworth shone, however, in the women’s U23 competition, with her throw of 12.04m scoring her good points and 3rd place. Serita Shone was the next placed Briton, in 8th poison with a best throw of 10.66. Weetman and Beesley came in at 12th and 16th, with best throws of 10.09m and 8.60m


Ben Gibb’s clearance of 1.91m in the U20 High Jump gifted him 2nd place, with joint 8th position for Ben Gregory and Ashley Bryant, clearing the bar at 1.82m.


In possibly the outstanding performance of day one at the Julie Rose Stadium, Martin Brockman gave the local crowd something to really cheer about. Staying true to his word, and his intention to clear 2.10m, Brockman deliver this personal best performance.  There was joint 8th place for Beckford and Glass, clearing a height of 1.92m and McNeillis cleared the bar at 1.86m.


The 200m was the last event of the day for both the U20 and U23 women, in which Thompson, 24.29 and Johnson, 24.70 claiming 2nd and 3rd in their heat in composed runs for the U20 team. In the other heat for this age group, Markendale and Lennoxfinished 3rd and 5th, with times of 25.73 and 26.22.  


Beesley’s confident performance at this distance showed, with a time of 24.45 placing her 2nd, Holdsworth also ran in this heat, finishing 5th with a time of 25.70. Weetman won her heat with a time of 26.77, with Shone finishing 7th 27.40.


The last event of day 1 for the men was the 400m, which got underway with Gregory finishing 2nd in the U20 first heat, with a time of 52.16. Gibb came in with a time of 55.58. In the second heat, Bryant also claimed 2nd, coming in at 50.08.


Brockman and Glass went in heat one of the 400m of the U23 age group, finishing in 4th and 6th with times of 51.69 and 52.69. In the second heat, Oliver McNeillis won his heat with an assured time of 48.35, with Beckford finishing 6th with a time of 50.67.


Katarina Thompson will be pleased with her position after day one, currently lying in a strong 3rd position with 3,214pts, with Kaneesha Johnson taking 2,979pts and a position of 8th into day 2. Alice Lennox and Eleanor Markendale currently occupy 11th and 13th positions, with 2,946pts and 2,875pts each.


Holdsworth finished the day with a total points scoring of 3,317, on the shoulder of the leading two, with Beesley ranked 7th after day one, scoring 3,125pts. Weetman and Shone in 14th and 16th, with points scores of 2,768pts and 2,348pts after four events.


Of the U20 men’s, it is Ashley Bryant that leads the British charge, with a total points score of 3,577 after day one and a placing of 4th in the table. Ben Gregory comes in at 9th with a score of 3,418 to take into day 2, and Ben Gibb will take 3,328 points into day 2 and a placing of 12th.

Oliver McNeillis will be happy taking 2nd place into day two, with points score of 3,935. Beckford will take 3,730pts into day two and a day one placing of 5th. Martin Brockman is close behind his compatriot with 3,727pts, in 6th and Peter Glass is currently in 12th with 3,487pts to take into day 2.


Team Standings are as follows after Day one of Competitions;


U20 Women’s

SUI                                            9,388pts

NED                                            9,262pts

GBR                                            9,139pts

FRA                                            8,641pts


U23 Women’s

NED                                            9,366pts

SUI                                            9,294pts

FRA                                            9,272pts

GBR                                            9,210pts


U20 Men’s

FRA                                            10,967pts

NED                                            10,460pts

GBR                                            10,323pts

SUI                                            10,063pts


U23 Men’s

NED                                            11,419pts

GBR                                            11,392pts

FRA                                            10,975pts

SUI                                            10,443pts