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Day 2 from CE International in Ashford

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27 July 2008





Day 2 of the Norwich Union U20/U23 Combined Events International contested by hosts Great Britain, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands fell on a momentous milestone, 4 years to the day till the World descends on London, for the Olympics in 2012. 4 years to improve, 4 years to experience more competitive opportunities, four years to do what it takes to make it all count.


This was the London Generation on show this weekend and there were a lot of people learning together over the two days. Regardless of the results, a wind of optimism blew through the Julie Rose Stadium in balmy Ashford, with many of the talented GB representatives showing traits that are characteristic of their opposing nations. French flair, Dutch courage and Swiss precision all came in a package, bound with a Union Jack coloured bow.


The U20 men were required to be wide awake for their first event of the day, the 110m hurdles. Ashley Bryant (Windsor, Slough and Eton Harriers), Ben Gregory (Vale of Aylesbury AC) and Ben Gibb (Yeovil Olympiads) clocked times of 15.17, 15.59 and 15.52, placing 4th, 4th and 6th in their heats.


There was a personal best in the U20 Discus for Gibb, in the morning session, with a best throw of 38.39m which was more than enough to take 2nd place. Bryant’s 38.02m claimed him 4th, with Gregory coming in at 34.37m and 7th place.


The U23 men’s competition resumed day two with the 110m Hurdles. In the midday sun it was 1-2 for Great Britain with Oliver McNeillis (Birchfield Harriers) and Ricardo Beckford (London Heathside) crossing the finish line in 14.14 and 14.37. In the other heat, Peter Glass (North Down AC) also finished 1st, 15.27, with Martin Brockman (Medway and Maidstone) finishing 4th, 15.75.


The U20 Women began the resumption of their contest after lunch with the Long Jump, with Katarina Thompson (Liverpool Harriers) impressing with a furthest jump of 5.85m to take 3rd place. Kaneesha Johnson (Colchester Harriers) came 6th, 5.69m, Alice Lennox (City of Stoke AC) in 7th, 5.57m and Eleanor Markendale (Pendle) 9th, 5.48m.


The U23 men’s Discus event saw the GB athletes toil in the heat and humidity, with McNeillis the best of the British bunch, throwing 37.05m for 7th place. Glass came in at 34.63m and 10th, with Beckford and Brockman 11th and 13th with throws of 32.84m and 32.21m respectively.


Catherine Holdsworth (Colchester Harriers) continued to impress in the U23 women’s Long Jump, her jump of 5.91m (+3.5) earning her 2nd place. Meghan Beesley (Birchfield Harriers) came in 4th, 10cm short of Holdsworth, with a jump of 5.81m (+2.7). Gemma Weetman (Oswestry) jumped 5.70m (+2.0) to come in 6th and Serita Shone (Bournemouth) jumped a distance of 5.24m (+3.1) for 10th place.


The penultimate round of events for the U20 women, the javelin, saw Katarina Thompson placed 8th with a throw of 32.50m, Lennox placed 9th, 32.35m, Johnson placed 11th, 28.25m and Markendale placed 13th, with a throw of 26.46m


In the U23 event, Catherine Holdsworth 3rd place throw of 38.16m demonstrated her ability to score points in the throws over the course of the weekend. Gemma Weetman was the next highest placed Briton, at 9th with a throw of 32.82. Meghan Beesley and Serita Shone were placed 12th and 15th with throws of 30.80m and 23.74m respectively.


A long U20 men’s Pole Vault competition saw Ben Gregory victorious, clearing the bar at 4.50m. His compatriot, Ben Gibb, claimed 3rd place, with a clearance of 4.20m. Ashley Bryant was placed 8th, clearing the bar at 4.00m.


Ashley Bryant produced the throw of the U20 event, clearing 56.28m in the Javelin to clinch 1st place. There was 6th and 7th for Ben Gregory and Ben Gibb, with best throws of 49.77m and 48.91m.


McNeillis was head and shoulders above the rest in the U23 men’s Pole Vault, eventually clearing 4.80m, a full 50cm higher than his nearest rivals, Brockman and Glass in 3rd place, clearing 4.30m. Beckford’s record clearance of 3.80 placed him 13th.


The U23 Javelin competition saw Brockman placed highest out of the Brits in 9th, with a best throw of 48.99m. Glass came in at 11th, 48.15m, followed by Beckford in 13th, 43.76 and McNeillis in 14th, 43.36m


The final push for home came for the U20 women, in the 800m. it was an emphatic 1-2-3 for Great Britain in heat one, with Thompson 1st, 2:21.68, Johnson 2nd, 2.22.50, and Markendale 3rd, 2.28.55. Lennox also ran in this heat, coming in 5th, 2:30.71.


Katarina Thompson finished 3rd in the Heptathlon on its completion, scoring a personal best of 5,343pts, the individual competition was won by Switzerland’s Lea Sprunger, with 5,603pts. Of the rest of the British quartet, Kaneesha Johnson scored a PB 4,969pts placing her 6th, Alice Lennox also scored PB of 4,871pts placing her 8th. Eleanor Markendale scored 4,690pts, to place 11th overall. Those total points scores secured Great Britain 3rd place in the team event for the U20 women.


All four Britons ran in heat two of the U23 women’s 800m, where Meghan Beesley strode free of the rest of the pack in oppressive heat. Beesley completed the 2 laps in 2:15.86. Gemma Weetman finished 3rd, 2:20.75, Catherine Holdsworth finished in 5th, 2:24.95 and Serita Shone finished 8th, 2:44.41.


In the individual standings, Catherine Holdsworth was placed 3rd with her personal best of 5,529pts, with Beesley placed 5th, beating last season’s PB with 5,291pts, Weetman placed 8th with 4,870pts and Shone placed 15th with 3,856pts. The overall winner of the women’s U23 competition was Yassmina Omrani, of France, with 5,662pts.


The GB quartet’s individual points scores meant that the Under 23 team took 1st place in the championships, with a combined points score of 15,690pts.


To round up a gruelling weekend for all the combined eventers, the U20 men faced the 1500m, with the Andalusian like heat still hanging in the air. Gregory was the first past the post for the GB team, in 6th place, 4:44.10, followed in by Bryant at 13th, 5:02.75 and Gibb at 14th, 5:03.56.


The final standings for the U20 Men placed Ashley Bryant in stout 2nd place, accumulating 6,873pts over the 2 days of competition, a PB for the Windsor, Slough and Eton man. Ben Gregory was 5th, accumulating 6,749pts (also a PB) and Ben Gibb in 7th with 6,592pts. The overall winner of the U20 individual competitions was Yannick Choffart, of France, with a total score of 7,084pts.


The total points from the Under 20 men team secured Great Britain 2nd place overall in the age group, with a total points score of 20,151pts, 48 points short of the top spot.


Courage prevailed on the track for the final event of the competition, the U23 men’s 1500m. Ricardo Beckford stormed to first place, in 4:28.21, followed by another stellar performance from local boy Martin Brockman, in 3rd, 4:30.16. McNeillis and Glass were placed 12th and 13th, with times of 4:52.60 and 5:40.73.


The scores on the board placed Oliver McNeillis in 2nd place, with 7,440pts (PB), with Martin Brockman breaking the 7,000pts mark with a personal best of 7,016pts. Ricardo Beckford was placed 6th with a PB of 6,993pts. Peter Glass will also be proud of his debut performance, scoring 6,471pts and placing 10th. The impressive Ingmar Vos of the Netherlands clinched the top spot with his total score of 7,786pts.


The Netherlands claimed the top spot, with an accumulative team score of 21,554pts, with Great Britain 2nd by only 6pts, totalling 21,449pts


Team Great Britain had a combined score of 72,473pts. It was the most fitting of tributes to a team that fought well, pushed their limits further and sent their signals of intent for future tests and future trials.


Team Standings are as follows at the close of Competition;


U20 Women’s

NED                                            15,358pts*  

SUI                                            15,300pts

GBR                                            15,183pts

FRA                                            13,833pts


U23 Women’s

GBR                                            15,690pts*

FRA                                            15,316pts

NED                                            15,239pts

SUI                                            14,910pts



U20 Men’s

FRA                                            20,198pts*  

GBR                                            20,151pts

SUI                                            19,505pts

NED                                            19,010pts



U23 Men’s

NED                                            21,554pts*

GBR                                            21,449pts

FRA                                            21,225pts

SUI                                            12,834pts


Overall Standings

Great Britain                                 72,473pts*

The Netherlands                           71,161pts

France                                        70,572pts

Switzerland                                  62,549pts


* Denotes Champions