23rd May 2022


The GB & NI U20 team finished fourth overall on a day of impressive performances at the Loughborough International, also known as the Battle of the Nations. The event is celebrated as the curtain-raiser of the summer season with teams from England, Scotland, Wales, the National League and a Loughborough University Select all competing for glory at the Paula Radcliffe Stadium. England claimed the victory in the match with 186 points, followed by Loughborough with 138 points.

For the Under 20s, there was the added incentive of qualification for the World Championships in Cali, Colombia later this summer. A total of eight qualifying standards were reached in Loughborough.

One of the U20 performance of the day came from 200m sprinter Success Eduan (coach: Anita Richardson, club: Sale Harriers Manchester). She won the race in dominant fashion in a significant personal best time of 23.30, well within the qualifying time of 23.60 seconds and said she was ‘ecstatic’ with her performance.

In the non-scoring guest 200m, Sophie Walton (Trevor Williams, Ashton-Under-Lyne) achieved a time of 23.43 which was a huge personal best, also surpassing the World Championship qualifying standard of 23.60.

The sprint events produced several of the most thrilling performances of the day with even more World Qualifying times recorded. In the women’s 100m, Joy Eze (Michael Donnelly Gateshead) was second with a time of 11.55 seconds, beating the qualifying standard of 11.60.

Closely behind, and within the standard was U20 athlete Alyson Bell (Anne Scott, Giffnock North), running in the 100m individual event for Scotland to a new PB of 11.58. Bell then joined the U20 GB&NI later in the Match for the 4x100m relay.

The 100m qualifying standard was also achieved by Michael Onilogbo (Carl Graham, Newham & Essex Beagles) with a personal best of 10.38. Elsewhere, there was a PB in the men’s 200m for Jason Kalala (Nat Senior, Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets). Kalala’s time of 21.18 an encouraging step in the process towards the World Championships qualifying time of 20.85.

In the field, team captain Sophie Ashurst (Andy Ashurst, Sale Harriers Manchester) led by example with a fine performance. Competing in the pole vault, she confirmed she is well on track for Cali, equalling the qualification height of 4.15m for the second time. The teenager placed second in the event to Molly Caudery of Loughborough who recorded a winning vault of 4.50m.

Pole Vault qualification was also achieved by Lazarus Benjamin (Matt Cullen, Sale Harriers Manchester). Benjamin vaulted 5.20m to equal the required height.

In the women’s 800m, a dominant performance for Abigail Ives (Luke Gunn, Basildon) to win the race in 2.04.71. It was day two of action for Ives, who competed in a guest race on Saturday at the Muller Birmingham Diamond League recording a PB of 2.01.88. Selection for the GB&NI is an invaluable experience for developing the stars of the future. The races on consecutive days, a deliberate simulation of consecutive days racing at a major Championship. This was another stamp in her passport towards the World Championships in Cali, with Ives currently 4th in World Athletics rankings.

In the men’s 800m, team captain Sam Reardon (Nigel Stickings, Blackheath and Bromley) placed second in 1.50.82. The teenager said he was honoured to captain the GB&NI Team and said his eyes are firmly focused on the Cali qualification time of 1.48.00.

Elsewhere there was a massive personal best in triple jump for Archie Yeo (Stephen Wymark, Kingston upon Hull). Winning his first vest for GB&NI, Yeo came into the competition with a three year-old PB 14.84m. He said he was boosted by the pride of wearing the vest and recorded a fantastic jump of 15.40m, with the majority of his series over 15 metres.

In women’s triple jump, Georgina Scoot (Richard Derrick, Torbay) had to cope with swirling wind conditions which caused her to no-jump on three occasions, but her best legal jump was 12.29m.

In 110m hurdles, there was also a career best for Matt Griffin (Paul Gripton, Birchfield), reducing his time from 13.94 to 13.91. The Birchfield athlete had a strong start to lead the race in the early stages, however in the latter stages a hurdle clash foiled his chances of an even better time early in the season.

It was a similar story for Marli Jessop (Scott Grace, Shaftesbury Barnet) with a trail leg collision with another competitor hindering her chances of a faster time after a promising start. Jessop recorded a time of 13.74 seconds and remains chasing the Cali qualifying time of 13.50.

In 400m hurdles, Onyekachukwu Okoh (Jade Harding, Chelmsford) was rewarded with a personal best time of 51.91 seconds, while in the women’s race, Rachel Callan (Jackie Alexander & Anne Stewart, Giffnock North) ran 1.02.26.

There was a fourth place in the women’s 400m for Isabelle Skelton (Bill Boyd, Corby). Her time of 54.39 was just a shade slower than her personal best. In the men’s race there was a personal best for Cam McGregor (James Wright, Rugby & Northampton). His third-place time of 47.25 was a fine reward for his first vest with the U20 GB&NI Team.

In the 1500m, Pippa Roessler (Mick Woods, Aldershot, Farnham & District) had a hard tactical race to contend with. Olympian Jess Judd claimed an emphatic win in 4.16.36 while Roessler crossed the line in 4.25.28. In the men’s race, Justin Davies (Martin Rush, Team Bath) it was a similarly tactical affair as he finished third in 3:51.50.

Once again there was another hugely impressive performance from Johnny Livingston (self-coached, Exeter) in the men’s 3000m. A two second personal best time of 8.09.23 means he also achieved the qualifying time for Cali. Livingston has reduced his PB by a lofty 21 seconds since last summer. In the women’s race Alice Garner (Mick Woods, Aldershot Farnham and District) ran 9.23.09.

Also on the track, Thomas Bridger enjoyed “a good run out” winning the men’s 3000m steeplechase in 8.57.25. Qualification for Cali has been his target this season and he achieved the qualifying time by four seconds two weeks ago in Birmingham with his personal best time of 8.51.00. In the women’s race Jessica Hatch (Shireen Higgins, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) ran 11.07.22 to finish sixth.

A good show of consistency in the hammer from Jessica Charlie Bennett (David Callaway, Southampton) with four throws over 50m. Her best on the day was 54.78m. In the men’s event Owen Merrett (Matt Spicer, Yate) threw 67.04m to finish fourth in the Match competition.

In discus Edward Fileman (Gary Herrington, Tavistock) threw 49.17m, pitching himself against an impressive senior line-up, headed by the winner Nick Percy of Scotland (63.02m). Meanwhile in the women’s event Zara Obamakinwa (Mark Chapman, Blackheath & Bromley) also faced top international competition from the likes of Jade Lally (57.84m, England) and Kirsty Law (55.35m, Scotland) The U20 athlete was disappointed with the throw of 46.13 and said the magic number of 50m to qualify for Cali was very much on her mind and she tried to “bully” the performance.

Elsewhere in throws, Zac Davies (Stuart Carlaw, Harrow) equalled his personal best in shot-put. His best throw of 17.38 the best in a very strong series. In the women’s event, Teddy Tchoudja (John Scott, Shettleston) was third with her performance of 14.35m

In javelin, GB & NI juniors’ Sophie Hamilton (Ken Holmes, Bristol & West) finished fifth in the match competition with a throw of 42.16m. In the men’s event, Callum Taylor (Bronwin Carter, City of Portsmouth) was perilously close to the World Championship qualifying of 68.00m with his throw of 67.63 to take fifth in the competition.

In long jump Toby Hiller (Daniel Hooker, Wimborne) admitted that nerves of winning his first international vest played a part in his performance as he produced a jump of 6.86m. Molly Palmer (Lukasz Zawila, Charnwood) was second in the women’s event with 5.97m.

In high jump, Eloise Hind (Marcia Marriott, Oxford City) achieved 1.70m in difficult blustery conditions. In the men’s equivalent, Sebastian Clatworthy (Simon Hemmings, Chelmsford) cleared 1.97m.

The men’s 4x100m team enjoyed a second-place finish to England in a time of 40.03. They were led off on a strong leg by Tyler Panton (Peter Griffiths, Woking), handing to Jeriel Quainoo (Ryan Freckleton, Blackheath & Bromley) with the second leg into the wind. Good changeovers on the third and fourth legs, Jason Kalala (Nat Senior, Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets), and Michael Onilogbo (Carl Graham, Newham & Essex Beagles) saw the teenagers contest the top two spots against the England national team. England were first in 39.97 with the U20s narrowly beaten in 40.03 seconds. The team felt they enjoyed the advantage of good chemistry having worked together in the past and believe that faster times will definitely come.

There was frustration for the women’s 4x100m as they were unable to get the baton around. There was a fine start for Sophie Walton (Trevor Williams, Ashton-Under-Lyne) handing to Alyson Bell (Anne Scott, Giffnock North). Heading into the third leg, the U20s were the team to beat in an impressive performance to lead the field. Joy Eze (Michael Donnelly, Gateshead) sprinted well in lane four on the top bend, however there was confusion as Eze realised that Success Eduan (Anita Richardson, Sale) on the final leg had been placed in the incorrect lane. The handover never took place, and an almost assured victory was not possible as the women did not finish the race.

In the 4x400m relay there was a fine third place finish for the U20s in a time of 3.40.45 behind England and Loughborough. The team was led off by Isabelle Skelton (Bill Boyd, Corby) with a split of 56.4, followed by Poppy Malik (Grant Barker, Notts) with 55.2 on the second leg. There was a very strong third leg of 52.8 seconds from Yemi Mary John (Alan James, Woodford Green Essex Ladies), before the team was led home by Sofia Vidak (Norrie Hay, Falkirk) with 55.8 on the final leg.

There was drama for the men’s 4x400m team with a tumble for third leg athlete Brodie Young (James McMenemy, Airdrie Harriers). After Cameron McGregor (James Wright, Rugby & Northampton) led the team off in a split time of 49.7, second leg Reuben Henry-Daire (Paul Herrington, Reading AC) produced a fast time of 47.7 seconds. While handing the baton at speed, third runner Young turned, but then tripped to fall and roll on the track. Against a top-quality field, the mistake could not be recovered. A final leg of 47.6 by Sam Reardon (Nigel Stickings, Blackheath & Bromley) brought the team home at the back of the field with a time of 3.16.75.

Final score

1: England 186

2: Loughborough Select 138

3: National League 133

4: GB&NI U20 125.5

5: Scotland 93.5

6: Wales 89

For full results please check the Roster app.