English Schools Championships 2013
Sale Harriers were out in force (in County strip) for the world's fourth largest athletics event. The sun shone, there was a gentle breeze, thousands of knowledgeable spectators packed the Alexander Stadium, some of it was on the telly and the organization was Olympics standard. Perfect conditions led to a blizzard of PBs and CBPs. There were many great performances by counties lucky enough to have SHM constituents, but the following were amongst the most memorable.
Roy Ejiakuekwu (Manchester, 100m senior) was poetry in motion, as opposed to proper poetry because nothing rhymes with Ejiakuekwu. He is no stranger to top spot on the ESAA podium having occupied it after his intermediate 200m win in 2011. Last year (first year senior) he was edged into fourth in the 100m but this year he ran 10.61 to beat a Bedfordshire lad in a photo finish. Did Roy throttle back before the line? The replay on Sky Sports should help prove guilt or innocence.
Jona Efoloko (Manchester 200m junior) knocked six hundredths off his PB for 22.64, nearly a tenth better than the silver medalist from London and the three other South East boys he left trailing behind him. A new SHM record with another year in the age group! Jona's one of those deceptive people who doesn't seem to be going quickly at all - it must be annoying for the people he beats so comfortably.
UK No.1 javelin thrower Natasha Wilson (senior, Cumbria) didn't need to exert herself to the max. Her SB is 47.90m, but she strolled away with the gold with a leisurely 45.81m, way over two meters clear of the silver medalist and over four metres clear of third. No re-measure needed.
Pole vaulter Sarah Mc Keever's career rose to exciting new heights with her first English Schools title. She also did it in style also with a massive lifetime best of 3.70m that propels her to No.2 in the U20 UK rankings. Sarah is a multi- Greater Manchester Schools Champion and last competed in the English Schools Championships in 2011 as an U17 year old when she finished 10th.
The Manchester senior boy's 4x100m relay team was Sale Harriers to a man. They were not named individually, but 41.35 seconds and common sense suggest it could have been Roy (see above), Daniel Heald (last year's senior 200m and relay gold medalist), Nathan Selby (last year's 200m bronze medalist and relay gold medalist) and Zenon Wisniewski. Everyone a way-below-11 seconds performer, so unless one of them had an attack of baton hand paralysis or Krypton had been recognized as an English county, they were never going to be in the silverware business. Ker-ching! Another in the bank.
To quote England Athletics: 'The most competitive event of the day [Saturday] was undoubtedly the inter girls' triple jump'. This is how it went: on Friday the huge field was split into two groups and whittled down to twelve. At 10.00 on Saturday the dozen qualifiers from eleven counties slugged it out. It was always close, but in the final stages a girl from Surrey wasn't just the only one to break 12m, she smashed the eight year old 12.10m championship record by a whopping 9cm. The crowd went wild…and she remained the record holder for about five minutes because Amy Williams (Cheshire) doesn't't do silver. Her sixth and final jump of 12.22m was like a mugging, only legal. Amy is now 2cm off the UK all time record with over a year to improve. Of course, it's a new club record also. She has her third consecutive ESAA winner's medal and England selection v. Wales, Scotland and Ireland in Dublin on July 20th.
Aine Cunningham, who'd been at the helm of much of the club's U'13 success through 2012 and the Northern XC silver medallist, produced an excellent two days of running to make her first ever final and T.V. debut. In heat 1 she had to produce close to her best to even make it through the 800m heats and did not disappoint producing a lifetime best of 2.19.80 to make it through to the semi final. In the semi-final, she again would have had to produce a PB to progress to the final and she did it running another PB 2.19.26 qualifying for the final by 1000th of a second. Going into the final was always going to be tough and with the good weather she desired she fulfilled her dream and made herself and everyone around her very proud.
Sixteen year old Lamiko Thomas got off to a great start in the Intermediate Boys 400m Semi-final and missed out on securing a place in the Final by the narrowest of margins. Fifteen year Aimee Pratt aimed for a Semi-Final place in the Intermediate Girls 800m. She ran a tactical race that meant that it all came down to a sprint finish. Aimee missed out on the final by just one second.
It's no mean achievement to reach the final of the English Schools Championships so the club congratulations must also go to Callum Roughneen (U20 400m), Ryan Moore (U20 1500), Jacob Sutcliffe (U20 Pole vault), Kevin Metzger (U17 Triple Jump), Alyssia Carr (U20 long jump) and Sophie Ullah (U15 Discus)and J'Nay Ward (U17 high jump).
(Written by Anthony Barbet and Fechin Mc Cormick)
Posted 24/07/2013 08:59