17 May 2009
The elements conspired to make the McCain Loughborough International match a tough affair for spectators and athletes alike, as rain and wind battered the track between sunny spells. A problem with the electronic timing affected some of the sprint events, but there were still impressive performances on display.
Jess Ennis –a week on from her successful heptathlon comeback made another splash as she took an impressive 100m hurdles victory whilst guesting at the match. Better still was the PB of 12.93 with a legal 2.0m/s wind. For Ennis it was another boost to her injury comeback confidence:
“I really enjoy the hurdles, and always get up for it. I’d have preferred to have done the hurdles before the long jump as that’s the order I’m used to, but it worked out well today, I’m so pleased and I’m surprised to have run a PB in those conditions.”
Earlier Ennis had been disappointed with her long jump effort in finishing second with 6.07m. Phyllis Agbo took maximum points for England with an impressive PB of 6.41m.
Another class act on display was Goldie Sayers easily winning the women’s javelin with an opening throw of 59.77m and taking maximum match points for Loughborough ahead of England’s Christine Lawrence.
On the track, the 400m hurdlers battled blustery conditions to post quality times. Dai Greene competing for Wales won in 50.23, but just as impressive was the fast finishing Rhys Williams representing Loughborough in second with 50.49. For the Welshman who medalled at the European Championships in 2006, it was a moral boosting performance, considering it was only his second 400m hurdles race since that summer –injuries blighting his last two seasons.
In stepping down to 400m for the England team, Vicky Griffith ran a slick race to take victory in 53.8. The men’s 400m match race was a convincing win for Richard Buck for England in 46.4, but he was followed closely by GB Junior Jordan McGrath with 47.0. The invitation race marked a solid run for fellow junior Chris Clarke with 47.6 to win ahead of Matt Elias. However there was disappointment for the GB junior team later as McGrath pulled up with a suspected hamstring injury during the men’s 4x400m.
Other GB Juniors were in good form with a host of displays that despite conditions and hand timing, provided promise for the summer ahead. Sophie Hitchon improved her own UK junior hammer record to 62.96m, taking 4th place in a competition won by Zoe Derham in 67.73m. Fellow Junior Emily Diamond ran an accomplished 100m beating Kadi Ann Thomas for England with 11.7 to 11.8.
Other highlights included: a victory for Craig Pickering in the men’s invitation 150m race in 15.42; Seyi Smith for Loughborough in the 100m match race and Alex Nelson in the invitational race both clocking victories in 10.4 seconds; and Luke Cutts continued his excellent progress in the Pole Vault with an outdoor PB of 5.55m in a windswept competition.
In the women’s 800m, Scotland’s Claire Gibson made a breakthrough and went fourth on the 2009 Power of 10 rankings with a victory in 2.02.95 ahead of England’s Tara Bird. Fifteen year old Jodie Williams ran an excellent 200m in the invitational race to win with 23.50, eclipsing the match race result where fellow Junior Ashlee Nelson also came first in 23.82. Mervyn Luckwell continued his consistent javelin form for England with 79.75m for maximum match points.
Laura Kenney was well deserving of her 3000m victory ahead of Olympic 1500m fourth placer Lisa Dobriskey. Tracking her for much of the race, she pulled away at the bell and was a clear winner in 9.04.43. Andy Vernon was even more dominant in taking the men’s 3000m victory, escaping from Jonny Mellor at 600m to go and powering home in 7.57.06.
The relays closed off the day’s events as England dominated, winning the men’s 4x100m, men’s 4x400m, and women’s 4x400m. The GB students won the women’s 4x100m, just ahead of the GB junior squad.
Match result: 1 England 187.5, 2 Loughborough 151, 3 GB Juniors 129.5, 4 British Universities 122, 5 Scotland 114, 6 Wales 73.
Finally – the event marked the last international with the Aviva GB and NI juniors being led by Martin Rush, who has held the post since 2001. In commenting on his time in the role he said:
“The World Junior Championship in 2002 was my first event as team leader and needless to say it was a steep learning curve! But it has been a great experience to work with some great athletes and coaches in the past seven years.
“Today’s result showed promise for the season ahead with the athletes having the European U20 Championships to aim for. There were some excellent performances from athletes which gave the Juniors a well deserved third place.
“It has been an honour to see junior athletes make the transition to senior level and some of them perform so well in Beijing last year. I’m sure they have 2012 very much in their sights and will do Great Britain proud.”
Follow this link to see full results from the McCain Loughborough International 2009