English Championships and European U/20 and U/23Trials

Mark Dry
This weekend's U/20 and U/23 National Championships, and Trials for the European U/20 and U/23 Championships saw WGwEL athletes come away with 13 medals, with many other fine performances. Those performances were led by three golds in the U/23 Championships - from Mark Dry and Tara Bird who both set new Championship Best Performances and from Elaine O'Neill. U/20 performances were led by a significant breakthrough over 100m from Eugene Ayanful.

Woodford's first gold medalist was Elaine O'Neill on Saturday. Taking advantage of unusually pleasant weather at Bedford, Elaine took the U/23 women's 100m title in a personal best of 11.59 secs (+1.4), having recorded a wind aided (+2.4) 11.53 secs in qualifying. On Sunday Elaine comfortably qualified for the 200m Final with 24.44 secs (-2.0), but decided not to contest the final. The second gold medalist was hammer thrower Mark Dry who recorded another new personal best of 69.40m, to take the title with a new CBP, and move second on this year's UK rankings behind clubmate, Andy Frost. The third gold medal went to Tara Bird, who also set a new CBP for the U/23 800m and personal best of 2m3.00 secs as she improved on her 2nd place of last year.

U/20 Sprinter Eugene Ayanful ended up with silver in the 100m with a time of 10.60 secs (-2.7) into a strong headwind, but in qualifying Eugene made a significant breakthrough recording p.b's of 10.52 secs (+1.6) and then 10.44 secs (+1.4). The following day, over 200m Eugene continued to set p.b's with a 21.65 secs (-0.4) heat and 21.57 secs (-1.5) semi. In the final, Southern champion, and fastest qualifier in the semis with 21.44 secs (-1.7), Junior Ejehu, just lost out on the line as he took silver in 21.57 secs (-1.3), with Eugene sadly pulling up with what appeared to be a slight hamstring injury - hopefully not serious enough to keep him out of the European U/20 Championships.

In the U/23 men's 110mH, Callum Priestley picked up silver with 13.97 secs (-2.5), but was frustrated by the strong headwind in his attempt to achieve the qualifying standard of 13.80 secs - Callum's season's best is 13.83 secs. Dan Davis placed 5th in the same race with 14.42 secs (-2.5).

In the women's U/23 5000m there was silver and bronze for the Sparke twins with Jess recording 16m46.65 secs and Kat 16m47.09 secs. There was less luck though for younger brother Ronnie in the U/20 men's event over the same distance; the only UK athlete with the qualifying mark for the European Championships, Ronnie dropped out with two and a half laps to go, with an ankle problem.

Further medals came in the field, with Kim Murray picking up silver in the U/23 Long jump with 5.89m (+0.2), and in the men's shot there were personal bests for Anthony Oshodi as he placed second in the U/20 event with 17.96m, and Devon Douglas with 15.09m in the U/23 event. Devon had earlier placed 5th in the discus with 43.43m ahead of Chris Linque, 6th with 42.75m. U/20 Pole vaulter, Maria Seager picked up a bronze medal with a leap of 3.95m. Emma Smith was another to produce a personal best as she took bronze in the U/23 javelin with 42.29m. Sister Sarah Smith was 6th in the U/20 hammer with 47.90m and in the men's U/20 event Peter Clarke was 5th with 59.64m, with Alistair Williamson 6th in the U/23 event with 60.38m. Kitty Eleyae was 9th in the U/20 Long jump with 5.42m (+0.9).

Over 1500m, Tom Phillips continued to improve, first setting a pb of 3m54.12 secs to make the U/23 final, and then 3m52.99 secs to place 9th. Alex Cornwell was 6th in the U/20 event with 3m54.48 secs. In the U/23 400m it was very pleasing to see Louis Kwakye back in action - two years after rupturing his achilles tendon during the BUSA championships on the same track, Louis recorded 48.69 secs to qualify for the U/23 semi-final, but found himself short of fitness as he recorded 50.11 secs in that semi-final.

HCA member Rachel Giwa, made both U/20 sprint finals, placing 5th over 100m with 11.99 sesc (-1.4) after a 11.94 secs (+1.3) heat, and 4th over 200m with 24.84 secs (-0.9) after a 24.42 secs heat (+0.5). Ross Clarke another HCA member was 6th in the U/23 1500m with 3m49.08 secs.