Fechin Mc Cormick
Sale Harriers had every reason to believe their senior women could romp home in their first match of their new lower Division 2 of the UK Women’s League at Chelmsford at the weekend. Sadly, it was not the case. Yet again only a relative handful – just 14 athletes, made the trip to Essex to cover 34 events and as a result, despite everyone’s heroic efforts and almost everyone doubling and trebling in unfamiliar events to compensate for their absent colleagues, the team still managed only 6th place. Despite inspiring performances and great team spirit, a cloud of disappointment and even annoyance at being let down yet again by their Wythenshawe, Sportscity and Crossford Bridge colleagues pervaded the day. The further shame is that with just one more person the team could have been challenging for 3rd place because only four points separated the teams. Their new competitors are Bedford & County AC, City of Liverpool AC, Havering AC, Herts Pheonix AC, Marshall Milton Keynes AC, Southampton and City of Glasgow.
Pole vaulters GEORGIA PICKLES and SARAH Mc KEEVER took five hours and five trains to get from Cardiff to Chelmsford. They couldn’t bring their poles but borrowed unfamiliar ones and still won great team points. Then these two inspiring young athletes went on to do the unfamiliar high jump and 800m.....and one had an important exam the following day.
Newcomers as higher claim members CHELSEA WALKER and ALICE Mc MAHON were another two inspirations. Chelsea is top ranked UK’s U20 400m hurdler aiming for the World Junior Championships. She ran a fantastic 400mH in a great PB that was only 2/10ths short of the qualifying standard. She had every reason to rest and avoid injury and, thanks also to her coach, ran a magnificent100m hurdles for almost maximum points and then helped create the day’s most exciting highpoint with her scintillating anchor leg in the 4 x 400m relay when she made up a 100m deficit in last place to bring her team home in an incredible 5th. Similarly, ALICE WALKER. She was fantastic in running both the sprints and the relay.
Long time club stalwart and Scottish international discus thrower KIRSTY LAW was awarded 'Athlete of the Match' for her Discus performance and received £50.00. Then she threw the unfamiliar hammer and – wait for it, put herself on stand-by to do the 1500m or a 3k – all to win club points. Take note everyone!
GB international javelin thrower and the current BUCS javelin Champion LAURA WHITTINGHAM also put her pride aside and competed in the discus and hammer for the first time ever in her illustrious career – just to win Sale points. Top Scottish pentathlete JADE NIMMO had been out with injury twelve months and was competitively rusty. Nevertheless she flew all the way from Edinburgh to help out the club in the shot, 200m and 3rd leg in the 4 x 100m relay and made a big difference. Hers is another example to follow.
LUISA CANDIOLI was also ‘star’ who went beyond the call of duty. In over 25 degree heat, she ran her heart out in the 3000m, then ran herself almost to a standstill in the 1500m for more great points and then was even prepared to do a 400m relay leg. TYRA WATSON was amazing in taking on four events – the 400m, 100m hurdles, high jump and a 4 x400m leg. Well done also, Tyra.
Indeed every single competitor deserved the heartiest clap on the back for exemplary loyalty, commitment and sacrifices – ALLYSIA CARR (Triple Jump & Long jump), HAYAAT BAH-TRAORE (100m & relay), NATASHA PICKLES (Javelin), J’NAE WARD (Shot), ZENNI ENECHI and (long jump and triple jump). It’s just such a pity they were again so badly let down by their colleagues.
T & F officials BRIAN SPRIGGS, TERRY SUTCLIFFE and BRIAN GOULDEN – none any longer in the throes of youth, had laboured throughout Saturday’s heat at Sportcity for the BAL match, then rushed without a change of clothes, wash or food to catch the coach for the 5-hour journey to Essex where they spent another hot day as T & F officials and, of course, won Sale more very important points.
All of it would have been very difficult – indeed impossible without the tireless work and persistent gentle persuasion of team manager TONY SIMMONS. He’d just returned from seven days in Israel celebrating his daughter Jennifer’s wedding. Jennifer is a long-time club stalwart and hurdles specialist and another example to follow. The club wishes them ‘Shalom’ for their future lives. .
It’s a time for reflection in the face of this continuing decline for all sections to ask pertinent questions
(a) On yet another extremely busy weekend, is the club far too stretched? Is there now a need to have to prioritize club commitments or are the issues more around loyalty and commitment or something else?
(b) There’s still far too much evidence that athletes and coaches still have not programmed club matches as very important into their athletes training programmes
(c) At least one southern club rely heavily on veteran athletes for track AND field.. Is there a need for a club culture change?
Posted 08/06/2016 15:27