3rd September 2010

Singapore Stars Shine In School Games

3 September 2010

The 5th edition of the Sainsbury’s UK School Games was kicked off in some style earlier in the week with Gateshead International Stadium (venue for the athletics competition) hosting a spectacular opening ceremony to mark the start of these games on Thursday Night. This year’s event is hosted by the North East of England, with the venues of the 10 represented sports (Athletics, Badminton, Cycling, Fencing, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Swimming, Table Tennis and Volleyball) spread across the hosts towns and cities of Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland.

With the opening ceremony out of the way, focus turned to the battle for supremacy on the track and in the field amongst the teams represented here in the North East. This year’s athletics format will be familiar to fans of UKA’S Super 8 concept, with events across the athletics programme contested by athletes representing eight city based teams (Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Gateshead, Glasgow, London and Manchester).

Thought it may have been back to school for kids up and down the country this week, the lesson to be learned was taught by David Bolarinwa on day 1 of the Sainsbury’s UK School Games. A fabulously assured performance gave the Youth Olympic Games multi medallist the 100m win for team London (10.81secs) ahead of Ben Shields for Gateshead (11.21secs) and Michael Prentice of Cardiff (11.37secs).   

Bolarinwa was modest and mature in victory, clearly displaying the positive effect competing at the UK School Games previously, and more recently the Youth Olympics has had on the London athlete.

 “You can’t write anyone off at any competition, the UK School Games is a lot like Singapore (Youth Olympic Games) with all the different sports coming together, and this helps you take it to the next level.”

“I’ve competed at the UK School Games before, and this prepares you for something like the Youth Olympics, things like staying in an athlete village and managing your time. Having this in the UK is fantastic, it really helps you as an athlete. This is the champs to go to and to learn from!”  

Bolarinwa’s words should have been sound counsel for competitors in the boy’s 800m race, which provided the shock of the evening, with Team Manchester’s Tom Guy thinking the race was won with metres to go, only to be blindsided by Team Glasgow’s Tom Watson, who proved to be the alchemist of the competition so far, turning silver into gold with a winning time of 1:57.59secs, Guy coming through 400th of a second later, with a time of 1:57.63secs. Andy Provost of Team Bristol made sure of the bronze with a time of 1:57.95secs.  

Another star of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore last month, Freya Jones of Team Bristol proved her champion credentials with a huge javelin throw (49.15m) in the girl’s event giving her the gold medal, and double excuse for celebration with a new UK School Games Record. Team Birmingham’s Laura Macdonald took silver with a best throw of 42.59m and Carys Mansfield of Team Cardiff bronze, throwing 39.67m.

Sophie Mckinna produced a performance head and shoulders above the rest of the field for Team Birmingham in the girl’s shot. 14.53m was a new UK School Games Record and over 3 metres ahead of second place Simi Pam (11.70m) of Team London and Rebecca Fagan (11:05m), who also celebrated bronze with a personal best .

Irish eyes were smiling in the girl’s ambulant 200m race, with IWAS World Juniors medallist and Team Belfast representative Sally Brown impressing the crowd with a dominant display, crossing the line in 27.49secs, followed by Amy Wareing (33.74secs) of Team London second and Fiona Clarke (35.21secs) of Team Birmingham third.

Aviva English School’s bronze medallist David Lagerberg finished strongly claiming the UK title. In third place coming off the final bend, Lagerberg crossed the line in a time of 48.38secs for Team Birmingham. Aviva English Schools champion and Team London athlete Joshua Street had to settle for a silver medal with a time of 48.42secs, with Scottish Schools Champion Jay Younger coming in to take the bronze for Team Glasgow (49.01secs).

Team Bristol’s Lucy Bryan re-wrote the UK School Games record books with a new girl’s pole vault record. Bryan soared to clear the bar again, and again, until the mark was set at 3.80m, cleared first time by the Aviva England Athletics U15/U17 Champion. Nancy Epsley (3.30m) of Team London and Paige Collings (3.30) of Team Birmingham claimed silver and bronze respectively.

The athletes weren’t done with breaking records; Michael Hartley of Team Manchester set a lifetime best and UK School Games record of in the boy’s high jump competition, clearing the bar at 2.08m. Team London’s Blade Ashby cleared the bar at 1.96, with Team Bristol’s Ryan Bonifas taking the bronze (1.96m).

“I came to the games hoping for 2.05m, but getting 2.08m I’m delighted with myself. Everyone in the team has been congratulating me.”

In total, 7 UK School Games records were re-written on day one of the Sainsbury’s UK School Games.

Later in the evening, Bolarinwa completed a double gold medal hall at this year games, anchoring Team London to victory with, streets ahead of the chasing pack in a time of 41.25secs – a huge new games record set by the London quartet. Team Birmingham were over a second behind their Team London rivals, coming in second with a time 42.75secs. Home town team Gateshead were cheered through the line in third with a gusty team effort (43.58secs) 

For day one result from the Sainsbury’s UK School Games, click here.