Manchester International

15th August 2018

Ernie Greenwood

The third Manchester International took place at Sport City and Sale had representation as we have had for the last three years of this relatively new offering. The format is some relay events for young athletes in the afternoon before the main event which is a chance for representative honours for up and coming elite athletes and some who wouldn't get a chance at the main championship events. Each of the home nations provide a team to compete with GB Under 23,a combined BAL/UKWAL team, A foreign team - this year Iceland and a team of various guests. A team of 'celebrities' race with the winners of the afternoon junior relay winners- a great experience for the kids.

Once again Sale girls U13 relay team won their event but the Boys had to be content with fifth place .The 'celebrities' were a bit of an anti-climax after Darren Campbell's medal winning relay team last year as they were not from the Athletics world but were worthy people representing sponsors- not really pitched at kids though. The event itself is good for kids to experience as they see elite athletes wearing their home countries kit competing in a good stadium and they get an idea of top class athletics. Local kids get the chance to be kit carriers too which they enjoy doing. The talented young Dancers from St Francis Primary in Gorton got to entertain the crowd.(Jonah Efolokus Primary School- a source of talent for us.) On the whole it's a good idea and brings more people into Athletics without having to travel to London or Birmingham and having to pay a lot for the experience. It also provides welcome revenue to keep Sport City open and not go the way of Sheffield Don Valley. The legacy of the Commonwealth Games continues a little longer and keeps the Arab Empire across the road at bay for now at least.

Experienced Sale sprinter Andy Robertson raced twice in the 100m ;once in the non point scoring race and again later in the rain battered race that mattered. Incredibly he recorded the same time 10.28.Andy joined Sale in his first year at West Hill School and has remained a member ever since. He was second in his race.

Fresh from Berlin, Kirsty Law represented Scotland in the Discus with a throw of 54.90 giving her country second place. Talented Jumper Abigail Irozuru heads a group of three Sale women athletes in the top six in the North. Her jump of 6.39 was enough for victory.In the Mens event Reynold Banigo went a metre further with 7.76 giving him a win.

We had three Triple Jumpers, two coached by Keith Hunter, all in the top six. Julian Reid won the event from Sean Okome in 5th and Kevin Metzger in 6th.

The event featured the England 10,000m Championships during which the rain we have missed for weeks arrived to keep them cool for half an hour. A very wet Nigel Martin battled the elements to stay with the race leaders for a Bronze medal and a p.b. in 30.07.Nigel has made great improvements under coach Norman Poole at Wythenshawe. 

Appearances by Sale athletes at this level are not unusual but do not happen overnight. It begins when they are children and those fortunate enough to be talented are lucky enough to be able to access good quality coaching but none of this assures success without regular very hard work. All these athletes and their coaches deserve their success because of this.