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Medal success for Simbi and Shona

Medal winning performances by Shona Vincent and Simbi Sikiru highlighted the two days of the England Athletics U17 and U15 age group championships, but all the Woodford athletes that competed put in a strong showing in Bedford on 31 August and 1 September.

Shona Vincent was the first WGEL athlete in action on Saturday morning, taking second in her heat in what would have been a PB of 12.39 but for the wind to qualify fifth fastest overall for the semi-finals. Here she improved to a significant PB of 12.29 (+1.0) to take 3rd place and qualify automatically for the final. Despite this impressive performance, as fourth fastest qualifier, her PB was still only ranked ahead of one other athlete going into the final but a strong start established her medal credentials. While former WGEL member Nia Wedderburn-Goodison pulled away for a convincing win in a championship best (11.78), Shona held her form for a clear bronze medal in 12.21 (+3.1 m/s).

 In the U17 mens 100m, Sikiru Onigbanjo finished 5th in 10.94w, having set a PB of 11.01 in his heat and improved this to 10.91 for fourth in his semi-final. This was an impressive step up for Sikiru, who raced with protective strapping on his hamstring after the heat. Tolani Alaba failed to progress from the same semi-final as Sikiru, recording 11.08 after 11.11 in the first round. Nicole Alves was unlucky to miss out on qualifying for the U17 womens 300m final by just 0.02 from the inside lane, finishing 3rd in her heat in 41.24. Another unfortunate athlete was Ben Sloan in the U17 mens 1500m, who finished 5th in the first semi-final (4:11.65) to just miss out on automatic qualifying and then saw a group in the second heat pursue a faster tempo to ensure all the fastest loser spots were filled from that race.

 An early starter on day 2 was Simbiyat Sikiru in the U17 womens hammer. Sixth ranked going into the event, Simbi recorded her second best competitive distance of 54.25 to take the bronze medal. Danny Raymond was next up, having qualified for the under 15 boys 800m final with third in his heat on Saturday in 2:04.61. The final was significantly faster, and Southern champion Danny lost the battle for bronze but still came away with a PB of 2:01.87 in fourth. Finally Ben Sloan sought to make up for the disappointment of missing out on the 1500m final in the U17 mens 3000m. Ben lost contact with the leaders at half way and in challenging conditions finished 11thin 9:12.52.