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Bedford U20s Day 2

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Simon Horsfield
Horsfield - impressive 1500m victory


28 June 2009

On day two of the Aviva U20 Championships and European Trials, more qualifying standards were hit as athletes made the grade in competition, in a superb day's competition in Bedford.

Key moments from the day’s events included:

Gateshead Harrier Niall Flannery had started the day’s finals with a comprehensive victory in the men’s 400m hurdles, setting a significant PB and a championship best performance of 51.07. It was a fitting run from the hurdler, who sits at second in the European U20 rankings.

“I want to bring back a medal, and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t – I’ll get another hard week of training in before tapering down for the competition,” he said.

In the women’s event, Lauren Bouchard (Chelmsford) looked  confident of securing selection and continued her dominant form with a win in 59.76 ahead of Nicola Hill (Havering Mayesbrook) who clocked 60.21 – just outside the European qualification standard.

Over the short hurdles, Lawrence Clarke (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) was an expected winner, taking the title in 13.78 ahead of Jack Meredith (Liverpool H) in 13.90 and Ben Reynolds (WSEH) 14.06. Clarke, who has regularly ran inside the standard of 14secs this season, looked in charge despite the hurdles finals all being run into a challenging headwind.

In two of the most anticipated races of the weekend, the 1500m featured close finishes in both men’s and women’s finals. Stacy Smith (Gateshead) ran a canny race biding her time to take victory over the final 100m. With 800m to go Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot Farnham & District) took on the pace and held the lead through to the final straight where Smith used her strength to power past and take the win in 4.18.54. In second was Victoria Park athlete Josephine Moultrie – 4.18.99 and third was Purdue in 4.19.13, all three ducking inside the European Junior qualification standard.

The men’s 1500m had been billed as a close battle between Niall Brooks (Sale) and Simon Horsfield (East Cheshire), with Brooks seen as favourite with the fastest time in Europe this year. But it was the intelligent racing of Horsfield that took the title, holding off Brooks’ challenge over the final 200m and galloping away to victory in 3.46.92. Luton’s Dan Clorley came through for second with 3.47.63 ahead of a fading Brooks in 3.47.67, with all of the top three having achieved the European standard of 3.47 prior to the weekend.

The women’s 800m did not disappoint either, and despite injury curtailing her early season, Alison Leonard (Blackburn H) proved her resilience with a commanding gun-to-tape win in 2.04.50. Jenny Tan (Fife) was a delighted second placer, ducking inside the European mark of 2.06 with her 2.05.47.

In another distance dual, Beth Potter (Glasgow) proved a popular winner of the women’s 3000m in 9.17.56 ahead of Louise Small (Aldershot Farnham & District) in 9.18.82 and Kate Avery (Shildon) with 9.25.17, all three well within the European junior standard.

A surprise of the afternoon was provided by the winner of the women’s 400m. Laura Wake (Herts Phoenix) took the title running from lane one in a PB of 54.07, snatching the qualifying mark for the European Juniors with her victory ahead of Shelayna Oskan (Windsor Slough Eton Hounslow) who missed out on the mark with 54.86 secs.

The men’s 400m was more predictable, and pleasingly showed Chris Clarke (Marshall Milton Keynes) and Louis Persent (Colchester) to be in fine form with an expected 1-2. Clarke’s time of 46.55 ahead of Persent’s 46.87, further boosting the GB team 4x400m relay hopes for Novi-Sad.

The women’s high jump was won by multi-eventer Katarina Johnson – Thompson (Liverpool Harriers), whose leap of 1.74m demonstrated her considerable talent as she heads for the World Youth Championships in Sudtirol early next month.

It proved to be a busy day for Johnson-Thompson who also took in the 200m and long jump during her day’s work taking third place in her heat of the 200m and third in the long jump with 6.10m.

The long jump was won by Lorraine Ugen (Blackheath & Bromley)whose massive PB leap of 6.28 followed by an improvement to 6.29 later in the competition blew away the field, but most importantly took her way beyond the European standard of 6.10m. Abigail Irozuru (Sale) was second with 6.12m.

Curtis Griffith Parker (Cambridge H) took an expected yet impressive throws double during his afternoon at Bedford, securing the discus win with 59.66m, and then later the shot win with a final round putt of 18.65m – he had already secured the European standards in both events prior to his weekend’s successes.

Visit the England Athletics On Track website for more results