04 February 2012
The first match of the 2012 McCain Indoor City Challenge saw victory for the Sheffield Flames, with a hot performances - including a record 42 PB's - contrasting sharply with the snowy conditions hitting the UK.
The match got underway with the women’s long jump at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport (EIS) today with a strong showing in the women’s long jump, where Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes) opened Manchester Warrior’s Combined Events campaign with a new UK Junior Indoor Record of 6.39m.
The rising heptathlete then went on to smash her shot put PB of 11.09m with a throw of 11.56 and later secured the combined events challenge victory with a second place finish in the 60mh.
“I wasn’t really expecting that in the long jump, normally I’m the first one out, but I just connected with the board and got big jumps today so I’m really happy with that,” she said.
“The PB in the shot put has been a long time coming really, I have worked on it more than any other event in the last three years, so I’m glad I got the PB in that too and hopefully I can carry it on to the outdoors.
“It’s a great event to compete in, all the combined event athletes know each other and they are really nice girls. I can see why people get into it with the team names like ‘warriors’ and ‘dragons’.
But it was Sheffield Flames who took the first match victory with help from local-girl Jess Ennis (Toni Minichiello) who made her best season opener winning the 60mh finishing in 8.05 and producing 6.19m in the long jump to finish in second place behind Abigail Irozuru who jumped 6.30m.
She said: “It is very local to me and easy to come along, obviously I train here (at the EIS) all the time, so it’s a great opportunity to come and blow off the cobwebs at the beginning of the indoor season and just start quite locally.”
Meanwhile Isobel Pooley led the women’s high jump for London South Sharks and finished with a new PB of 1.88m and went on to attempt 1.92m – an Olympic B standard.
“I am over the moon. It wasn’t a huge surprise to be honest as training has been going so well and I’ve just gone to a new place with my run up and technique and I just felt so much more powerful now I am training with my new coach Fuzz Ahmed. He has worked miracles really and I knew if I got it right I could jump some big height today,” she said. "It’s all boding quite well for the Trials.”
The men’s 60mh delivered an exciting race, which again saw European silver medallist Andi Pozzi showing consistency ahead of the Aviva Indoor UK Trials and Championships with a winning time of 7.70.
“I am a bit disappointed at the time as I am chasing 7.65 for World Indoors qualification,” he admitted. “ I have run .66, 67 and 68 all in quite bad races, so that one was ok, and I was kind of hoping that would be a bit quicker.
“I’m feeling really good going into the Trials, I have a good state of mind and training has been going well, so I’m looking forward to it.
“I really enjoy this event. I came here last year, not quite in as good a form, but it’s quite good to come and race on the track ahead of the Trials.”
Another key performer came courtesy of the women’s 800m. Leading the race from gun-to-finish line was 2009 World Championship finalist Marilyn Okoro (Ayo Falola) with a time of 2:04.29 for London North Lions.
The Ambassador for McCain said, “It was alright, it’s always a bit off-putting starting on the curve – I haven’t done that since school – I just really wanted to stay focused, stay strong and dominate from the front. I love the Sheffield Arena, it’s a great meet so it’s nice for me as I have just come back from South Africa less than 48 hours ago so pleased with that.
“It was so nice to have good winter training – injury free – so I’m really really happy and I really appreciate everyone who has supported me, McCain being one of them, I have really been able to put together all those stages that I wanted to.”
North London Lions also saw Zane Duquemin smash his indoor shot put personal best of 16.70m for a throw of 17.40m in the men’s shot put.
European and Commonwealth medallist Conrad Williams settled for a new indoor personal best in the men’s 200m in 21.31, before later false starting in the 60m.
He said, “It felt good considering it was the first round, as I usually get better through the rounds. It’s all practice for next week so it’s good to know I can go through and come back again.
“Preparations for next week are so far so good. I can’t complain because I keep improving, so I would say it’s going really well. The match is always competitive - it’s a good a meet, I like it."
Full results can be viewed here.
Watch a short highlights video here.
All will be decided at Match 2 at Lee Valley on 3 March where spectators will, once again, receive free entry.