Young Athletes at Parliament Hill

With few competition opportunities since December, the South of England Championships marked a welcome return to racing for our young athletes. The cold, overnight snap meant that the early races had to negotiate frozen ground with the risk of turning an ankle ever present for the competitors. Runners in the later races experienced the traditional nature of Parliament Hill; plenty of cloying, boggy ground and sloppy mud.

Pride of the young athlete results must go to the U20 Men, who won a bronze team medal with defending champion, Ronnie Sparke this year just out of the individual medals in 4th place, 22 seconds adrift of winner Daniel Clorley (Luton AC). It was a fine performance from Ronnie, this being his comeback race after missing six months through injury.

Indoor Round-Up Feb1st

This weekend was the busiest so far in the current indoor season for WGwEL athletes. Many were in action on both Saturday and Sunday at the London Indoor Games at Lee Valley, with others in international action In Glasgow, highlighted by a fine triple jump victory from Tosin Oke, and in Germany where Joice Maduaka was in fine spinting form.

At Glasgow's Kelvin Hall, scene of the traditional opening international fixture of the indoor season, GB took on teams from the US, Sweden and the Commonwealth Select. Representing the Commonwealth, Tosin Oke confirmed his recent fine form as he took triple jump victory in an indoor personal best of 16.73m, which ranks him equal 4th on the current world rankings.

Women take gold, men bronze, in Southern CC

There was euphoria in the Woodford camp on Saturday afternoon as the senior women’s team captured their first-ever South of England CC title, and both the senior men and U20 men were represented on the podium with team bronzes. Jessica Sparke’s dominant individual victory in the senior race, to retain the trophy that twin sister Kat won last year, was the icing on a rich cake.

Results

Dave Barrett's photos (look out for the one of Lotfi and Craig tucked in behind Jon Pepper (2nd) and Darren Deed (4th))

Photos by Les Cornwell

Superb Cross-Country results

There were some excellent results from cross-country races over the weekend but none better than an outstanding run from Jessica Sparke who came 3rd in the McCain International Challenge in Antrim.

The race was won by Ireland’s Mary Cullen with Hungary’s Aniko Kalovics 2nd, just 10 secs in front of Jess, who beat fellow internationals Hayley Yelling, the Euro Cross Champion, and Katrina Wooton.

After the race Jessica commented “I felt really strong all the way and now, with the World Cross trials coming up, I just need to keep healthy and injury free.”
“My confidence is growing and I’m starting to feel more and more confident,” she continued. “I was gaining on Aniko a bit and I really tried to chase her down. I’d been excited coming into the race – I knew I was getting closer and closer to Hayley after my performance in Edinburgh and I’m pleased to have bettered that today.” Twin sister Kat returned to racing action in 17th place, 1min 14secs down on Jess.

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