16th June 2013
England Athletics U23 & U20 Championships
16 June 2013
The weather conditions made for an extremely interesting weekend’s action at the Bedford International Stadium, as athletes had to endure strong winds, torrential rain, and the occasional patch of sunshine.
In the end it was the sprinters who stole the show, namely Adam Gemili (coach: Michael Afilaka) who returned from injury to win both the U23 men’s 100m and 200m titles. On Saturday, Gemili clocked an impressive 10.09, which would have been a Championship Best Performance, were it not for an illegal +2.3m wind reading. However he went one better on the Sunday, claiming the 200m title in a blistering 20.30, which this time around was a CBP.
The sprint doubles didn’t stop there though, as Jodie Williams (Stanley Madiri), another athlete on the comeback trail, clocked impressive times of 11.23 and 23.21 in the 100 & 200 respectively. Meanwhile in the U20 category, Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) emulated her elders, running 11.30 (+2.9) and 23.19 to win both the 100m and 200m respectively. Finishing 2nd in the 200m, Desiree Henry (Madiri) also went under the European Junior qualifying time, clocking a SB of 23.54.
The U20 men’s middle distance races also made for exciting spectacles, as between the 800m & 1500m, no fewer than 11 men held a European Junior qualifying standard. In the 800m, Jordan Bransberg (Andrew Medley) left it late to secure the win, whilst in the 1500m, Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman) was overhauled in the last 40m by Shaun Wyllie, with a fast finishing Matt McLaughlin (Ayo Falola), taking bronze.
Sophie McKinna (Geoff Capes) got the weekend off to a good start in the field, as she produced another world class junior performance in the U20 women’s shot put, recording a championship best performance of 16.36m. This was another European Junior Championship qualifying mark, and combined with her win, means she has secured her ticket on the plane to the European Junior Championships in Rieti, Italy, in a month’s time.
In the men’s 100m, local boy Josh Cox (Alan Watts) recorded a surprise victory in a new personal best of 10.56, which is inside the European Junior standard, and secures his place on the GB & N.I team. Also setting a PB to win his trial event in a European Junior mark was Chris Kandu (John Herbert), who took the men’s high jump in an impressive 2.18.
On the women’s side, there was a welcome return to form for Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) who jumped a SB of 6.32m to win the U20 long jump title. The 400m was also an exciting affair as Sabrina Bakare (Jane Dixon) set a personal best of 53.98 to take the title from Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna), both women securing the qualifying time for Rieti. Yasmin Miller (Jared Deacon) and Rebecca Weston (Peter Mullervy) both recorded impressive victories in the 100mH and 3000m respectively, and will go into the European Junior Championships full of confidence.
There were some equally impressive performances in the field in the U23 championships, Sophie Hitchon (Tore Gustaffson) being one of them, regaining her under 23 women’s hammer title with a CBP of 69.54m. Isobelle Pooley (Fuzz Ahmed) cleared 1.87m with her final attempt to win the under 23 high jump, and her SB performance secured her place on the European Under 23 Championship team. Lorraine Ugen (Frank Attoh) did the same in the long jump, and although her best jump of 6.31m had an illegal wind of +3.0, she already holds the qualifying standard and is therefore guaranteed a place on the GB & NI European Under 23 team.
In the men’s field events, Zane Duquemin (John Hiller) threw 60.56m to win the discus title on Saturday, before returning to take the shot title the following day with a championship record throw of 18.88m.
Back on the track, Sebastian Rodger (Stephen King) beat the likes of Niall Flannery (Nick Dakin) and Jack Green (Malcolm Arnold) to secure first place in the under 23 men’s 400m hurdles with a time of 49.87, inside the European U23 Championship qualifying standard. Heptathlon Olympian Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes) returned from a short spell on the sidelines to win the 100m hurdles with a 13.66 clocking. Kate Avery (Tony Simmons) broke the championship record in the under 23 women’s 5,000m with a solo effort of 16:01.88, whilst Laura Muir (Andy Young), who holds the European Under 23 qualifying time in the 1500m & 5000m, stepped down to 800m and was victorious in a time of 2:03.11.