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Jodie Williams

19 June 2010

Jodie Williams (coach: Mike McFarlane) once again proved her exceptional talent with a brilliant 100m victory on day one of the England Under-20 Championships and World Trials in Bedford (Saturday 19 June).

In tail winds which peaked at 4.5m/second over the course of the weekend, the Herts Phoenix athlete, who has not needed luck on her side in her brilliant career to date, was fortunate to clock a legal time in the final, setting a new Championship Best of 11.28 (+1.0m/s). “The wind made it hard to react,” she said of her start, “but I’m happy with the time. It’s just nice to have proof that I can run 11.2 and it wasn’t a one off!”

It was job done for the current world number three who can now concentrate on tomorrow’s 200m - the event for which she’s clocked an outstanding world lead time of 22.79 already this season - and a sprint double at this summer’s IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada (19-25 July).

Top UK under-17 David Bolarinwa (coach: John Powell), the Youth Olympic Games/European Trials victor in Moscow last month, was the impressive winner of the men’s under-20 100m, also in a legal conditions (+0.6m/s). His victory was somewhat bittersweet however; while he clocked a lightening quick 10:47 personal best, he’s likely to miss out on the World Junior Championships to take up his team spot in the European Youth Olympics in Singapore in August.

Sophie Hitchon’s (coach: Derek Evely) Championship Best performance in the women’s hammer was one of the most notable performances in the field alongside Sally Scott’s (coach: Steve Rippon) World Junior mark of 4.20m in the women’s pole vault, also a Championship Best.

UK junior record holder Hitchon, who recorded 63.74m with her opening throw and two further 63m plus efforts, confirmed her selection onto the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team for the World Juniors with yet another dominant performance in excess of the 58.00m UKA qualifying standard. “We came out here just to throw consistently well,” she said. “The conditions weren’t great, so I’m pleased with that, especially into a head wind. I’m really happy.”

Scott, who was overtaken in the UK Junior All-Time rankings by current record holder Holly Bleasdale (coach: Julien Raffalli-Ebezant), was delighted with her new lifetime best. “I’ve been jumping well in training and I’ve just moved on to the longer poles,” she said. “I knew I’d have the height, but I had to stay confident. I went into it thinking that if I got the standard I could take the win. Pole vault is all about confidence and I’m so pleased!”

Also certain to be on the team sheet when this week's automatics selections are named (Wednesday 23 June) are Sam Bailey (coach: Carol Jackson) in the high jump, Dan Pembroke (coach: Kevin Pembroke) in the javelin and Laura Weightman (coach: Steve Cram) in the 1500m, the trio backing up their pre-Trials selection marks with victories.

Unfortunately, the venue so commonly associated with tough conditions didn’t disappoint, and as a result, the slow early pace in the 1500m only played into the hands of Weightman who had already clocked a World Juniors mark of 4:14.43 in May. “It was so slow through to 800m (their opening lap splits were 77 and 78 seconds) but I didn’t want to go too early,” she said, knowing that all she had to do today was win.

She broke from the pack with 400m to go with only Georgia Peel (coach: Mick Woods) for company, but kicked clear for victory and her first ever national junior title 250m from home, clocking a conservative 4:32.55. “Mentally my preparation wasn’t what it should have been, because we found out after the warm up that it was a straight final, but maybe it was a good thing because I wasn’t as nervous as I might have been. I’ve really improved over this past year since I’ve been working with Steve (Steve Cram). He’s been there and done it himself so he knows what he’s talking about. It’s really working out.”

High-jumper Bailey was also affected by the swirling wind, but secured his place on the GB team with a 2.09m third-time clearance for the win, backing up his 2.15m PB at the McCain Loughborough International in May.

Pembroke, runner-up in the England Under-20 Championships 12 months ago, went one better with gold in 2010 courtesy of a 72.43m effort on his penultimate throw, his second best ever performance.

It’s worth sparing a thought for those that perhaps suffered most from the weather conditions, however.

The men’s long jump was one of the most frustrating. The top two, Kadeem Greenidge-Smith (coach: Ian Roberts) and Jermaine Olasan (Jonas Dodoo), both exceeded the required mark for the World Juniors with distances of 7.59m and 7.55m respectively, but in illegal conditions, while Leigh Lennon (coach: Don Lennon), who won the women’s 800m final in 2:10.10, was five seconds outside the required World Juniors standard but defeated the UK’s top two under-20s Jenny Tan and Sarah Kelly, both coached by Liz McColgan, in the process.

For the athletes who had to battle the elements in today’s heats, they’ll be hoping for better conditions in tomorrow’s finals.

In the 400mH, Jack Green (coach: Norma Plews) clocked the quickest first round qualifier with 53.92 and will now be aiming to back up his World Juniors standard of 51.49 with the national junior title when he goes head to head with Niall Flannery (coach: Nick Dakin) – currently three one-hundredths of a second outside the required mark - in a potentially exciting showdown tomorrow.

Harry Ellis (coach: Phil Hicken), one of three athletes with the World Juniors 1500m qualifying standard to date, won his heat with relative ease in 3:57.80. In the absence of US-based Tom Farrell (coach: Andy Farrell) who opted not to return to the UK for the Trials, and Niall Brooks (coach: Norman Poole) who is focussing on the 800m, his main challenge based on today’s performances is likely to come from Ronnie Sparke (coach: Richard Thurston) who qualified with the fastest time of the day (3:56.22).

As expected, it's the men’s 800m which is shaping up to be one of the most exciting races on the second day's programme, but the heats provided their own entertainment on day one; Stuart Ross (coach: Bill Parker), second ranked going into today’s Trials, failed to qualify; Adam Cotton (coach: Geoff James) clocked 1:52.49 to go through to the final as the fastest qualifier ahead of third-ranked James Bowness (coach: Norman Poole), while current UK number one Brooks made no mistake with victory in 1:53.91. They go head to head tomorrow afternoon.

Day one results are available now through the England Athletics website: http://www.englandathletics.org/