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UK Athletics

Sayers breaks UK javelin record - updated

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Goldie Sayers - record breaker
Goldie Sayers - record breaker

UK Challenge reigning champions Andy Frost, Emeka Udechuku and Nadia Williams scored impressive victories at the Accenture Loughborough International on Sunday 20 May – a meeting illuminated most brightly by a UK javelin record by Goldie Sayers, a Northern Ireland shot record by Eva Massey, a Welsh hammer record by Carys Parry and four more meeting bests.


Massey’s winning put of 16.60m, which took her to the top of the Power of 10 rankings, is a massive 1 metre and 1 centimetre further than her best effort of last season and 30cm better than her previous lifetime best, achieved in 2003. More significantly, it erases a record that has been held since 1970 by the 1972 Olympic pentathlon gold medallist Mary Peters, who put 16.40m.


Parry’s 64.34m effort was good enough to earn her second place in the hammer behind current UK No.1 Zoe Derham, who reached 65.65m, to go well past the 63.05m achieved by Lesley Brannan last year.


But the best was saved until the sun began to sink on the spectators who had basked on the grassy banks, watching more then seven hours of absorbing competition…


Sayers’ golden throw came in the final round of the last field event of the day – a glorious climax befitting the weather that graced the 49th edition of this match, which ended: 1 England 190 points; 2 Loughborough Past and Present 156; 3 Norwich Union Great Britain Juniors 127; 4 BUSA 114; 5 Scotland 112; 6 Wales 73.


The 24-year-old threw 65.05 metres, a lifetime best by 3.60m that gives her high hopes of figuring prominently at the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan, when the season reaches its climax.


This is traditionally the launchpad for international aspirations – and the tingles of expectations are even sharper in a summer that includes World Championships, European Under 23 and Junior Championships, IAAF World Youth Games and Olympic Youth Festival.


Lee McConnell, who opened her 400m hurdles campaign with a win in 56.41 seconds that took her straight to the top of the Power of 10 rankings, went on to anchor Loughborough to a 4x400m meeting record of 3:32.58. And to prove sexes truly are equal these days, the Loughborough men’s squad followed-up with their own 4x400m meeting record of 3:07.34.


Hatti Dean (England) front-ran her way to a massive meeting record in the women’s 3000m steeplechase: 9:51.23 gave her a winning margin of 17 seconds and beat the old record by more than 25 seconds.


Abby Westley (Loughborough) looked sensational in racing home in the women’s 1500m in 4:08.74, finally erasing the record of 4:10.23 that had stood to Lisa York for over a decade.


The England women’s 4x100m squad of Anyika Onuora, Emily Freeman, Laura Turner and Joice Maduaka lowered the meeting record to 44.07 seconds.


While the England 4x100m squad of Jason Gardener, Dwayne Grant, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis looked sleek in winning in 38.88 seconds, it was a quarter of a second outside the meeting best.


But Gardener had no doubt that the previous two days of relay practice with UK Athletics coaches had borne fruit. He said: “This is reflective of the preparation and commitment we have shown – not just the four of us, but everybody in the squad.”


And Lewis-Francis, who owns the meeting 100m record with 10.10 seconds in 2000 – a few months before he became the World Junior Champion at the distance – said: “It’s a great start to the outdoor season; that’s a world class time. And it felt comfortable.”


Another record near-miss was registered by Commonwealth Games 1500m champion Lisa Dobriskey (Loughborough) in the 3000m. Despite running in isolation for most of the race, she maintained her pace well enough to clock 8:54.12, just 12-hundredths outside the meeting best run by Paula Radcliffe. “Oh well,” smiled Dobriskey. “There’s always next year.”


Of the UK Challenge champions…


  • Frost (England) headed the hammer competition with a best on the day of 69.65m, while Junior Alex Smith (representing Loughborough Past and Present) finished a super second with 63.98m, within 10cm of his season’s best with the senior event.


  • Udechuku proved that his new eating regime is getting him in great shape by winning the discus with a throw of 56.44m that puts him top of the Power of 10 rankings for the season.


  • Williams scored top UK Challenge points in the women’s triple jump with 12.76m (wind: -1.5) but finished second to USA guest Tiombe Hurd, who won with 13.02m (wind: -1.7).


  • Leon Baptiste (England), winner of both sprints at last year’s Challenge final, was headed over 100m by European Junior silver medallist Simeon Williamson but then hung on for a dramatic victory in the match 200m in 21.32 seconds, three-hundredths ahead of Somto Eruchie (BUSA). Then Tim Abeyie won a guest race in 20.99 to add to the winning points he scored in the BAL Premiership a fortnight ago.


Several Norwich Union GB&NI Juniors used the senior competition to great advantage…


Nathan Woodward (Tamworth AC) beat the European Juniors guideline in winning his 400m hurdles in 51.50 seconds. “I knew I was in good shape.” He said. “But I wasn’t expecting the time.  I messed up a few of the last few hurdles and stuttered a bit.”


Nigel Levine (GB U20s) won the match 400m in 46.77 seconds, well inside the guideline of 47.25. “I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I got a bit tired coming down the home straight.”  His delighted coach Simon Dubeley said: “Mechanically, he is very good.  He doesn’t allow his hips to collapse at all.  He keeps himself nice and tall even when fatigue is setting in.”


The 800m, won for Loughborough by 24-year-old Mike Coltherd in 1:47.17, produced two teenagers below the European Juniors guideline of 1:48.50: James Brewer (GB U20) was second in a PB of 1:47.27 with BUSA Champion Andrew Osagie third in 1:47.34, also a PB. The trio are now first, second and third in the Power of 10 senior rankings for this season.


In a thrilling men's U20 110m hurdles race, four athletes were well inside the European U20 qualification guideline of 14.05.  Callum Priestley (Leicester Coritanian) won in 13.84 (-0.9m/s), followed by Edrin Okoro (Birchfield Harriers) in 13.89, Julian Adeniran (Charnwood) in 13.91 and Gianni Frankis (Newham and Essex Beagles) in 13.92. A fascinating summer awaits the quartet...


Luke Cutts (GB U20s) won the pole vault with 5.30m, 20cm above the European Juniors guideline.


Hayley Jones (GB U20s) had a cracking – and unexpected – win in the women’s 200m in 23.61 seconds, well inside the guideline time of 24.10. “I thought on PBs I’d finish fourth,” said the modest youngster who is coached by Don Moss at Wigan.


In a breathtaking finish to the match 800m, Charlotte Best (Loughborough) won in 2:03.11 - inside the European Under 23s guideline time of 2:04.00 - dipping to hold off the fleet-foot Emma Jackson (GB U20s), whose time of 2:03.57 once again took her way below the European Juniors time of 2:06.00.


Emma Pallant (GB U20s) followed Westley home so powerfully in the 1500m that she clocked 4:13.38, a PB by almost 5 seconds and way inside the European Juniors guideline time of 4:20.00.


Behind Dobriskey’s glorious pursuit of Radcliffe’s record in the 3000m, three teenagers beat the European Juniors guideline of 9:35.00. Jess Coulson (Stockport Harriers) was a fine fifth in 9:20.44, Non Stanford (Wales) was ninth in 9:34.18 closely followed over the line by Olivia Kenney (GB U20s) in 9:34.81.


Eden Francis (GB U20s) heaved the shot 15.39m, over the guideline, a week after excelling at the distance at the Leicestershire Championships.


Perri Shakes-Drayton (GB U20s) was third in the 400m hurdles in 59.66 seconds, only 16-hundredths outside the guideline as she aims to build on her appearance in the World Juniors final last year.


Similarly, Asha Philip (GB U20s) clocked 11.87 to get within a cat’s whisker of the women’s 100m time for the European Juniors, even though she is still an Under 18.


And in the Under 18 Women’s 100m hurdles staged by the UK Hurdles Club for athletes chasing the World Youths guideline time of 13.90, winner Jenny Taker (Trafford AC) defied a head wind of 0.6 metres per second to clock … precisely 13.90!


Exciting times indeed!


And through it all, the current world heptathlon No.1 Jessica Ennis contributed a thread of quality competition. As the reigning European Junior champion and an athlete who has made an instant impact at senior level, she embodies what this meeting is all about: encouraging athletes to progress to the maximum of their ability.


Representing England, Ennis long jumped 6.35m, within 5cm of the PB she set on her way to beating Denise Lewis’s UK Under 23 heptathlon record in Desenzano a fortnight ago. It looked as if it had earned her a share of top place with Gillian Cooke (Scotland), who reached the same distance.


But with the very last leap of the competition, Julie Hollman (Belgrave Harriers) found 6.36m to snatch victory on her way to next week’s combined events international in Gotzis, where she will meet UK No.1 Kelly Sotherton and Olympic and World Champion Carolina Kluft plus others.


Undeterred by the loss, Ennis flowed to victory in the match 100m hurdles in 13.19 to reinforce her position at the top of the Power of 10 rankings for this summer. And she ended her day with a javelin PB of 37.05m. It earned her last place in the competition won so spectacularly by Sayers. But both PBs could well turn out to be of equal importance in GB’s long haul for major medals.