In the first match back in division 2 of the SAL at Finsbury Park, a slightly weaker team than had gained promotion last year finished fourth behind hosts London Heathside, Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets and Brighton&Hove.
Hugh Williams: scored most points in individual events for the men
Leading the way in the sprints in his first league fixture was Eugene Amo-Dadzie, who won the A string 100 (10.93) and 200. It was his first ever outdoor meeting and after a series of consistent indoor 60m races the cold and breezy conditions were rather a shock even if he wasn’t racing during one of several hailstorms. Matthew Adum-Yeboah took both B strings, 2nd overall in the combined 100 and slightly faster than Eugene at 200 (22.78). The only other A string success on the track came from our 4x100m relay teams. The women team (Larrisa Anipa, Denesha Rocastle, Rebecca Fafowora and Eloise Lewis) came through in a relatively tight race, whereas the only ones to challenge our men (Winfred Hakeem, Joey O’Neill, Eugene-Amo Dadzie and Matthew Adum-Yeboah) were our U17 team (Aiden Fernando, Merveilles Massembo, Tolani Alaba and Sikiru Onigbanjo) whose 45.04 was the second fastest by the club in the last 10 years.
Hammer winner: Andreea Golban
On the field our women throwers led the way. Andreea Golban won the hammer with 44.87 ahead of Steph Howe (43.86) and well clear of the other clubs (as was U17 non-scorer Simbiyat Sikiru, 40.97 in her first 4kg comp). Two new members, Marlene Araujo and Chiara Okereke, won the JT (38.94) and SP (10.87) respectively, with Marlene’s throw Female Performance Of The Match. Emmaline Okafor threw a 28.33PB for second in the discus with Abigail Allen taking the B string. For the men Hugh Williams was top scorer in individual events, including a close second in the SP and a B hammer win behind Fergus Harford’s A string second.
Among other athletes that set PBs despite the unhelpful conditions, Denesha Rocastle took second in the TJ with 10.86, first year U17 Samuel Oshodi jumped 1.70 in the high jump, Tolani Alaba ran 11.60 in the 100 and Christina Okafor improved to 76.16 in the 400 hurdles despite the hail. The weather was no hindrance during the men’s 5000m, where Dan Steel’s track PB of 16:15.4 was needed to avoid getting lapped in a quality race in which all those in front of him also set bests. U17M Rhys Edward’s 7:16.76PB in the 2000m steeplechase was a faster pace than he had previously run over the barriers for 1500m. Among those debuting at new events, U17W Naomi Olubodun cleared 1.80 in the pole vault.
Although the deeper standard in the division came as a surprise to some, the club is well set up to be very competitive at this level. The next match is our first experience in this league of a double header match, at Mile End on Sunday 19 May. This will entail an earlier start on the field (and no guests in long throws). Joint races at 1500m and above should ensure deep fields. Intriguingly it will also be the first league fixture with mixed 4x400m relays, a new Olympic event, with 2 teams per club in this joint race.