On Saturday 22nd August, WGEL Young Athletes hosted a track and field Minithon event. The event catered for WGEL athletes from school years 3-8. Over 60 athletes entered the event, which was held in warm breezy conditions at Ashton.
Athletes could select up to three events from the scheduled line-up. Points collected for the individual events were totalled up at the end of the event for Gold, Silver and Bronze standards, with a corresponding medal given to every athlete attending.
The events included the 75m, 150m, 600m, long jump and Javelin (howlers). The event was organised using the now familiar “Pods” approach and guidance from England Athletics and the UK Govt. on current COVID restrictions. Using zones, the WGEL organising team safely moved the athletes within their particular seeded race/event pods (of six) from registration into holding, warm up and pre-race zones.
U17 Miya Maeda organises her group (photo: Paul Hancock)
The approach was very successful and, with our fantastic team of scorers (huge thanks to the Finch family and their teams) ready, it was not long before the long awaited sound of the starters pistol was ready to GO!
The organising team within school year groups seeded each race. This ensured all the athletes had a good level of competition, whilst having fun with their age group teammates.
The first event of the day was 75m sprints. The Year 3 athletes got us underway with new joiner Ellis Gentles (11.58s) recording a fantastic time in his first outing with the club. Heis one to watch as he progresses with the team over the coming years. Charlie Kyson (13.2s) zoomed across the line next, followed by our first girl Lydia Sneath (13.36) and Robert James (15.1s). After this race, the terrific times kept rolling in across all year groups!
In Year 4, our fastest girl was Sophia Sneath (13.08s). This was a good run from Sophia, more accustomed to middle distance running, but working on her speed to keep younger sister Lydia on her toes! Lawrence Foster (11.23s) was our fastest Year 4 boy on a good day for the Foster family. Older brother Alex Foster (10.13s) was in scintillating form as our fastest Year 6.
John Stow and James Geller ensure the athletes understand (photo: Paul Hancock)
In Year 5, there were standout performances from Azzura Cioni (11.07) and new recruit Felix Lammin (11.62). Azzura, a keen swimmer, is a regular at Saturday WASPs and more recently joined the midweek session. The extra session is helping her fitness whilst swimming is restricted, and she is progressing very nicely.
Our Year 6, 7 & 8 athletes recorded the fastest times of the day. Ethan Franklin (9.95) took the honours for fastest boy and Rebecca Wright (10.42) fastest girl. Ethan has been struggling with an Achilles injury. It was good to see him safely complete this race.
Fine all round athletes Jean-Marc Harriott (10.59) and Caitlin Hancock (10.75) both dipped under 11s as the first event closed.
In the next event, 150m Sprints, there were outstanding performances from Year 7 athletes Godwinner Nkebani (19.75), Jean-Marc Harriott (20.77) & Rebecca Wright (20.94). Year 6 athletes Alex Foster (20.47) and Caitlin Hancock (21.63) were fastest home in their age group with Cassius Lowe (22.96) right behind.
Azzura Cioni (22.55) led the Year 5 girls’ home, followed by Autumn Le Chevalier Jones (23.73). Toby Taylor (22.83) led the boys home with Felix Lammin (23.49). Toby is a fantastic athlete with tremendous leg speed. It was a pleasure to watch him race.
Ellis Gentles (24.89), Eva Hayford (25.77) & Sophia Sneath (26s) were our fastest Year 3 & 4 athletes and should be very proud of their results.
Meanwhile, away from the track, the action was heating up in the field events. Over 30 athletes signed up to the Long Jump.
Rebecca Wright (4.01m) leapt into the lead for Year 7 & 8 with a tremendous jump. Emily Caton (3.46m) and Lilly Spong (3.31m) took second and third. Caitlin Hancock (3.62m), Cassius Lowe (3.56m) and Issac Amores (3.55m) filled the top three in Year 6.
Azzura Cioni (3.61m), Zac Everitt (3.15m) and Daniel Niewczasinski-Kirkland (3.09m) took the honours in Year 5 battle, with Amani Clegg (2.75m), Charlie Kyson (2.51m) and Arjun Mukherjee (2.34) taking the crowns in Year 3 & 4.
The Javelin howlers also attracted great interest, with 26 athletes competing. Top of the throws list in Year 8 was Alex Hancock (36.72m) putting his talented cricketing skills into great effect. Charlotte Lovell (16.06) was our leading girl (Year 6) in the event. Charlotte is a fantastic all-round athlete with bundles of enthusiasm and never afraid to add new skills to her repertoire!
Alex Foster (30.34m), Jhonatan Ghebretinsae (26.53m) and Joshua Richardson (21.59m) took the plaudits in Year 6boys. Jhonatan in particular showed great technique and lots of potential under the watchful eye of WGEL coach Paul Cheal.
Oskar Kyson (22.8m), Lawrence Foster (21.02) and Austin McKenzie (18.15m) were the leading throwers in Year 5 with Matthew Amores (19.02m), Daniel Hayden (19m) and Arav Patel (14.93) leading Years 3 & 4.
The final event of the day was the 600m. WGEL’s very own international, Abigail Reid (who also helped present the Minithon medals), ran 1min40 secs to record the fastest time on the day. Abigail led from the front, helping pull along the talented Godwinner Nkebani (1min49 secs), Emily Caton (1min51secs) and Gregor Samson (1min58 secs) and Patrick Hayden (1min55 secs).
In the Years 5 & 6, Autumn Le Chevalier-Jones (1min55 secs) showed she was on her way back as a top ranked U11 athlete in a great race, with superbly talented Jasmine Hall (1min59 secs) and Faye Owers (1min59 secs) all going under 2 minutes. Year 5 boys Toby Taylor (2mins01 secs), Austin McKenzie (2mins11 secs), Felix Lammin (2mins11 secs) and Zac Everitt (2mins12 secs) also ran good races, recording big PBs.
Year 6 athletes Eliza Bridges (2mins01 secs), Charlotte Lovell (2mins09 secs), Amber Higgs-Smith (2mins09 secs) and Stephen Ng (2mins07 secs) also ran well and will all be looking to go under 2 minutes in the future.
In Years 3 & 4, there were incredible performances from Year 4 girl Sophia Sneath (2mins15 secs), younger sister Year 3 Lydia (2mins28 secs) and Annabel Wynn (2mins33 secs). This trio will take some stopping over the coming years!
Little ones doing 'drills' - important for future development (photo: Paul Hancock)
The biggest cheer of the day was for our young “toddlers” races. The children (Year 2 and below) were tremendous in their 50m and 300m races. They warmed up and raced with huge smiles. Their 50m race created the most laughs when they zoomed through the 50m finish only to carry on for another 100m round the track and were gone before rounded up by our officials!
That closed the event for the day. The whole team at WGEL deserved huge credit for making this event fun, welcoming and safe for the athletes. The officials, coaches, young athletes and volunteers from our tremendous families of the young athletes made the day possible.
A bright light helped brighten up the athletes’ day in what has been a very challenging year for everyone! We cannot wait until the next one. Up the WGEL.