13 January 2008
The closest-ever finish to the Senior Men’s heptathlon produced a fitting climax to two days of high-class competition at the England Athletics Senior and Under-20 Combined Events Open Indoor Championships at the EIS Sheffield as athletes began to battle for places in Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland teams for the Senior indoor combined events international against the Czech Republic, France and Spain at the same Sheffield venue on 2 and 3 February and the Under 23 and Under 20 indoor combined events international in France against France and Spain on 1 and 2 March.
Ed Dunford (Birchfield Harriers), who is pre-selected for the Senior international after ending last season by achieving the B qualifying standard for the Beijing Olympics decathlon at the UK Combined Events Challenge Final at Stoke, won the title by just one point from the defending champion, Kevin Sempers (Belgrave Harriers / Brunel University).
Indeed, if Sempers had run just two-hundredths of a second quicker in the seventh and final event, the 1000m, he would have tied on points with Dunford and snatch the title ‘on countback’ having finished ahead of him in four of the events. As it was, Dunford rose to third and Sempers to fourth in the UK all-time rankings.
Dunford totalled a massive 5722 points from a 60m personal best (PB) of 7.06 seconds, long jump indoor PB of 6.90m, shot indoor PB of 14.68m and high jump PB of 2.05m on the first day followed today by a 60m hurdles PB of 8.03, pole vault indoor PB of 4.15m and 1000m PB of 2:45.10.
Sempers accumulated 5721 points from a 60m PB of 7.02 seconds, long jump indoor PB of 7.03m, shot of 12.93m and high jump PB of 2.08m followed by 60m hurdles in 8.17 seconds, pole vault PB of 4.65m and 1000m in 2:52.33.
Louis Evling-Jones (Belgrave Harriers) equalled his three-year-old PB of 5663 points to earn the bronze medal with performances of 7.16 seconds, 7.14m, 13.32m PB, 1.96m, 8.33 seconds PB, 4.45m and 2:38.48.
The Under 20 Men’s pentathlon was of equal high quality – and did not lack excitement with the gold and silver medallists moving up from fifth and sixth places overnight.
Michael Holden (Colchester Harriers) struck gold with 5025 points, reeling off six PBs in the seven events: 7.26 seconds in the 60m, 6.33m for an indoor PB in the long jump, 12.77m in the shot, 3.85m indoor PB in the pole vault, 8.30m in the 60m hurdles and 2:48.20 in the 1000m. The odd event out was the high jump, in which he cleared 1.83m, which equalled his lifetime best.
Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) recorded PBs in all seven events to earn the silver medal with 4978 points: 7.58 seconds in the 60m, 6.47m indoor PB in the long jump, 12.11m indoor PB in the shot, 4.15m lifetime best in the pole vault, 8.55 seconds in the 60m hurdles, a massive 1.98m in the high jump and 2:56.87 in the 1000m.
Ashley Bryant (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC) clung to the bronze medal with 4952 points, finishing just 19 points ahead of overnight leader Ben Gregory (Vale of Aylesbury AC). Bryant opened with a 60m sprint in 7.52 seconds then reeled off six lifetime bests – 6.63m indoor PB in the long jump, 12.40m shot, 4.15m pole vault, 8.54 seconds 60m hurdles, 1.80m high jump and 2:51.44 1000m.
The international athlete formerly known as Kate Brewington (Havering Mayesbrook AC) had two extra reasons to celebrate her victory in the senior women’s pentathlon. This was her first major victory since she became Mrs Cowley. And her points total of 3974 – within 96 of her best yet – proved she is finally over injuries that have hampered her of late. She opened her campaign by clocking 8.78 seconds in the 60m hurdles, high jumped an indoor PB of 1.71m, put the shot 11.70m, long jumped 5.75m and ran the 800m in 2:26.58.
Leading Under 23 Catherine Holdsworth (Colchester Harriers) took the silver medal with a PB points score of 3906 (8.56 seconds 60m hurdles PB, 1.59m high jump, 12.14m shot, 5.83m long jump and 2:28.16 800m.
Gemma Weetman (Oswestry Olympians) took third place with 3880 points, just four ahead of Gace Clements (Dartford Harriers). The 20-year-old Weetman got to within 23 points of her best-yet with a 60m hurdles in 8.92 seconds, 1.56m high jump, 11.23m shot, 5.87m long jump and 2:18.49 800m.
In winning the Junior Women’s title, Meghan Beesley (Tamworth AC) set a Championship Best of 3908 points, which moves her up to fourth in the UK all-time list: 60m hurdles in 8.71 seconds, 1.59m high jump, 9.96m shot, 5.96m long jump and 2:17.88 800m.
Yet she only secured the gold medal after a great tussle with Amy Hill (Sheffield AC), who led by 10 points going into the 800m. In the end, Hill’s total of 3814 points placed her ninth on the all-time list from the following performances: 9.11 seconds in the 60m hurdles, a high jump PB of 1.65m, shot PB of 14.18m, 5.06m long jump and 800m in 2:25.63. Third place went to Serita Shone (Bournemouth AC) with 3566.
The GB combined events teams for the winter’s indoor internationals will be finalised after the Saucony LSAC Indoor Open Meeting at the East Midlands High Performance Centre, Loughborough University, on Saturday 19 January.
For a more detailed report, please click on Englandrep
For all of the results from the Championships, please click on Englandres