17th June 2018


Eight athletes secured their spot on the British team for the IAAF World Junior Championships on a day of exciting displays at the England Athletics U20 / U23 Championships in Bedford.

Alastair Chalmers (coach: Dale Garland, club: Guernsey) produced the best display of his career to date to win the U20 men’s 400m hurdles title in what was one of the highlights of day two.

The Guernsey athlete ran a superbly paced race, finishing strongly to post a personal best of 50.69, revising his previous mark from 51.10 set at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year.

It was quite a battle between himself and Alex Knibbs (Nick Dakin, Amber Valley & Erewash), both fierce contenders coming into the contest with World Juniors qualifying standards. Knibbs also lowered his lifetime best after a quality performance; his time 51.11, taking 0.10 seconds off his previous fastest time.

Chalmers said afterwards: “It’s a dream come true to go to the worlds representing your country, it’s all I can really ask for. It was a bit windy today so I thought that would throw me off but to come home in 50.69 is out of this world and I’m so glad I’m on that plane. I can drive towards the end of the season now.

“It’s great to follow in Cameron’s footsteps, we both push each other and he’s regularly in the British team and to come through as a World Junior as well is really satisfying to know that you deserve to be going.”

In the same final, U18 Karl Johnson (Tony Jarrett) recorded a fantastic PB, taking almost a second off his previous best for fifth place. The Newham & Essex Beagle ran 52.43, moving down from 53.37, as he targets a place on the team for the European Youth Championships in Gyor.

Jona Efoloko (John Smith, Sale Manchester Harriers) pipped Charlie Dobson (Stephen Garnham, Colchester Harriers) to the U20 200m title after a sublime race that saw him lower his career best to 20.79 (+1.3). Blasting out of the blocks, the 2017 European Junior 200m silver medallist held off the challenge of Dobson – who recorded a time of 20.88 – and was delighted with the final result.

He said: “I knew it would be good going up against Charlie, I knew we were both going to come into the home straight together, if I could keep my form and technique I’d be there. He pushes me and I push him. It’s good for me because I know coming here that it won’t be an easy win. I have to push myself 110% which pushes me throughout the session.

“It’s a great honour to represent your country, I’ve had success in both my Championships where I’ve worn it before, I’ve won medals in both. It will be tough but it’s definitely doable.”

In the women’s U20 200m, Georgina Adam (Denise Timmins, Lincoln Wellington) came through in the closing stages to edge out long-time leader Alisha Rees (Leon Baptiste, Edinburgh), perfectly timing her race to also guarantee her place on the team; a feat she was ‘over the moon’ about.

Earlier in the heats, Kristal Awuah (Matthew Thomas, Herne Hill) returned to the track after her superb victory in the U20 100m yesterday, setting a personal best of 23.66 (+1.2) – inside the World Junior qualifying standard – to win her heat. However, she did not start the semi-final, calling an end to her weekend.

Elsewhere, Jake Heyward (James Thie, Cardiff) booked his spot on the team for Tampere with a professional display over the 1500m. Holding the qualifying standard heading into the championships, the Welshman knew exactly what he had to do to make the team and was tactically spot on, winning in 3:54.07 – his third title in a row at these championships.

He said afterwards: “It’s really nice to get the job done, I knew I had the time, it was just a matter of coming out here and getting the win. The third title is really important because running fast times is great but you need to be able to perform at a major championship and win when it really matters so I’m really happy I’ve done that today.”

On his expectations for Finland, he added: “It depends how the race is run because the 1500m is very hard to predict but I’m ready for all scenarios and then it’s about finishing as high as I can. I’ve done European Youths and European Juniors so hopefully I can keep the success going now. This is amazing. I’ve never done anything of that standard before so I’m really looking forward to testing myself against everyone else in the world.”

In the U20 discus, James Tomlinson (Paul Jensen, Pembrokeshire) continued his fine form with another win at the England Championships, securing a World Juniors berth in the process. He won with a 57.65m effort in round one and had already secured the standard earlier this month in Portugal.

He was delighted to achieve his place on the team, saying: “During the competition I felt under so much pressure but now I’ve got that ticket, I can get my head down in training and then go all guns blazing for champs in July.

“This will be my sixth British vest so I’m really happy with that. This is my first time on the world stage so to go up against the guys that are on the IAAF page for the first time and the pressure of the competition will bring out the best in everyone.”

Over the longer distances, Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods, Bracknell AC) secured her place in the team for the 3000m after winning the race comfortably. After sitting with the early pace, she made her move over the last few laps, opening up a decisive lead that could not be caught; the time 9:22.54. She had earlier finished third in the 1500m earlier in the day in a time of 4:30.21.

She reflected: “Running the 1500m this morning gave me confidence heading into the 3000m. Knowing I already had the time didn’t change how I ran. It’s exciting to make another British team; I’m really pleased.”

Another securing his place in the British team was Alex Botterill (Andrew Henderson, City of York) after a strong performance in the U20 800m. The Yorkshireman made his move coming into the home straight, moving passed the leader Markhim Lonsdale (Keith Lonsdale, Crook) to seal the England title and a second British vest after his maiden appearance at the Loughborough International in May.

Jason Nicholson (Janice Kaufman, Gateshead) was the final U20 athlete of the day to confirm his place on the team, powering to victory in the 110m hurdles to win in 13.41 (+2.4). Despite the wind-assisted time, the North-East man only had to seal first place to confirm his spot.

Keely Hodgkinson (Margaret Galvin, Leigh) and Ben Pattison (Dave Ragan, Basingstoke & Mid Hants) earned surprise wins in the women’s U20 800m and men’s U20 400m respectively.

Both U18s, they both won dramatically much to the delight of the crowd. Hodgkinson held off the chase of Isabelle Boffey (Douglas Stone, Enfield & Haringey) in the home straight to win it in 2:04.42 but it was the 400m that was decided on the line. Pattison looked out of it with 70m to go, but pushed through on the inside lane to narrowly take it from Ethan Brown (Lloyd Cowan, Blackheath & Bromley) and Alex Haydock-Wilson (Earl Herbert, WSEH).

In the women’s shot put, U18 athletes starred with Serena Vincent (Bronwin Carter, City of Portsmouth) and Hannah Molyneaux (Malcolm Fenton, Sheffield & Dearne) throwing European Youth qualifying standards. Vincent was just two centimetres outside her PB set indoors, throwing 16.57m. While Molyneaux made a huge improvement from 16.05m to 16.51m, both targeting the championships in Gyor in July. Divine Oladipo (John Hillier, Blackheath & Bromley) won the U23 women’s title.

In the hammer throw, Charlotte Payne (Bob Broadbridge, Newbury) recorded another European Youth standard with a throw of 62.43m in the U18 hammer. Elsewhere, Dominic Ogbechie (Marius Guei, Highgate) leaped his second best ever mark in the high jump; 2.16m his best ever outdoor performance after his remarkable 2.22m mark indoors this year.

Shannon Hylton (Ryan Freckleton, Blackheath & Bromley) added the U23 200m title to her 100m victory on Saturday, clocking a time of 23.51 (+0.1), while Tom Somers (Benke Blomkvist, Newham & Essex Beagles) won the men’s equivalent in 20.95.

Back in the field, Naomi Ogbeta (Tom Cullen, Trafford) won the U23 triple jump title in her first year in the age-group, an effort of 13.58m good enough for victory.

Click here for full results. https://resultsengland.athletics-uk.org/resultsengland/