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UK Challenge ‘King’ Tom soars again

Tom Parsons: record-breaker

Fit-again Tom Parsons continued his love affair with the UK Challenge at the Midland Championships at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham. Last summer’s overall ‘Challenge King’ soared over a massive lifetime best of 2.28m to win a bottle of Heidsieck & Co Monopole Champagne in addition to 230 UK Challenge points.


These are the highlights from the Midlands, Northern and South of England Championships and the Bank of Scotland Under 23 and Under 20 Championships, which were all part of the UK Challenge, on Sunday 17 June:


100m/200m: Despite a headwind of 0.9 metres per second at Crystal Palace, Under 17 Asha Philip (Newham and Essex Beagles) won the South of England Under 20 Women’s title in 11.54 seconds, the fastest time by a UK teenager this year. It eroded the previous Championships Best of 11.63 run by Marcia Richardson (Windsor, Slough and Eton) in 1991 and Abi Oyepitan (Shaftesbury Barnet) in 1998. Multi-talented Meghan Beesley (Tamworth AC) achieved a Midland Under 20s sprint double in Championships Best times. She lowered the 100m best to 11.78 seconds, two-hundredths inside the qualifying time for the European Junior Championships, with the help of a moderate following wind of 0.8 metres per second. She is the ninth athlete under the Power of 10 national standard of 11.85 this year. And Beesley clocked 24.11 in the 200m (wind: +1.2), only one-hundredth of a second outside the European Juniors entry standard.


400m: Holly Croxford (Winchester and District AC) went to the top of the Power of 10 Under 20 Women’s rankings for the season by lowering the South of England Championships Best to 54.28 seconds, inside the European Juniors standard of 54.45.


3000m: European Junior Cross Country Champion Steph Twell (Aldershot, Farnham and District) won the South of England title in 9:15.04, 20 seconds inside the European Juniors standard and half a minute quicker than the previous CBP by Charlotte Dale (Invicta East Kent AC) in 2001 when she was also the European Junior Cross Country Champion.


110m hurdles: There were only three starters in the Midlands Under 20 Men’s final. The wind drifted into their faces. Yet two of them beat the European Juniors entry standard of 14.05 seconds: Edirin Okoro (Birchfield) lowered the Championships Best to 13.82, which takes him to second in the Power of 10 rankings below World Juniors finalist Gianni Frankis (Basildon); Callum Priestley (Leicester Coritanian) clocked 13.91.


400m hurdles: Perri Shakes-Drayton (Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets AC) retained the South of England title in 58.89 seconds, 0.42 slower than her CBP last year, to remain second in the Power of 10 rankings to Meghan Beesley.


High jump: Tom Parsons (Birchfield Harriers) made a sensational return to form at the Midland Championships, clearing 2.28m – a lifetime best by 4cm. Forced to delay his start to the season because of a knee injury, he maintained his record of achieving at least one PB every year and moved to third in the Power of 10 rankings behind European Indoors bronze medallist Martyn Bernard (Wakefield) and European Cup selection Germaine Mason, who have both cleared 2.30m this year. Parsons’ soaring effort added 3cm to the UK Challenge record jointly held by Mason and Adam Scarr (Enfield and Haringey AC). Adele Lassu (Sale Harriers Manchester) equalled the European Juniors qualifying standard of 1.82m to set a Northern Under 20 Women’s Championship Best.


Pole vault: Scott Huggins (Blackheath and Bromley) increased his own Scottish Junior record, Bubka-style, to 4.81m at the South of England Champs at Crystal Palace.


Triple Jump: The Scottish women’s competition lived up to its billing. Under 23 Nony Mordi (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) increased her Scottish record to 13.22m (wind: +1.0) while guesting senior Gillian Kerr (Edinburgh) jumped 13.20m (wind: +2.1) and a legal 13.19m (wind: +1.5). And Under 20 Jayne Nisbet (also Edinburgh) reach 12.47m (wind +1.3). Yet they were all upstaged at Crystal Palace by Nadia Williams (Shaftesbury Barnet), who won the South of England title with a lifetime best of 13.59m (wind: +0.2), the longest by a UK athlete this summer.


Hammer standards were sky-high at the Northerns in Liverpool. James Bedford (Kinston upon Hull AC) did not what he has been threatening for some weeks and beat the European Juniors qualifying standard of 70.00m by throwing a PB of 70.82m. It earned him the Northern Under 20s’ gold medal ahead of training mate Alex Smith (Sale Harriers Manchester), who had a best on the day of 70.20m. Peter Smith (Kingston upon Hull) again beat the IAAF World Youth Championships guideline of 70.00m by throwing the 5kg hammer 70.82m. UK Challenge women’s leader Zoe Derham (Birchfield) won the Midlands title with a relatively modest 63.15m while Under 20 Hayley Murray (Nuneaton) improved her PB to 52.17m to consolidate her second place in the Power of 10 Under 20 Women’s rankings. To further whet the appetite for next weekend’s Norwich Union England Athletics U23 & U20 Championships at Bedford, the Under 20 rankings leader, Sophie Hitchon (Pendle AC) improved her own UK Under 17 record and UK age 15 best by throwing 54.36m at Liverpool. And Under 23 Susan McKelvie (Edinburgh) won her Scottish title with 60.18m.


Javelin: James Campbell (Cheltenham and County Harriers) warmed-up for the Norwich Union England Athletics U20 Championships by setting a Scottish Native record of 70.47m.


Meanwhile the Dublin International Grand Prix of Race Walking gave Daniel King (Colchester Harriers) an opportunity to rediscover his form following the stomach cramps that bedevilled his efforts at Royal Leamington Spa last month. He placed second in the 20km in 1:28:44, behind Ireland's new 50km record holder Colin Griffin, who won in 1:25:40.


If you know of any highlights that should be added to this article, please send the details to UK Athletics Communications Officer Trevor Frecknall at tfrecknall@hotmail.com 


For all of the results from the Northern Championships at Liverpool, please click here