2nd July 2022


The sun was shining as Great Britain and Northern Ireland Juniors sparkled on day one of the Mannheim International. On a day designed for fast running, there was a plethora of GB & NI personal best and season best times, including Alyson Bell (Giffnock North) with a100m Scottish Under 20 Record of 11.57 (-0.5).

Dreams also came one step closer with qualifying times achieved for the World U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia. Notably Yemi Mary John (Alan James, Woodford Green Essex Ladies) won the event and dipped under 53 seconds for the first time with a personal best of 52.98 in the 400m.

The Mannheim International is one of the highest-level junior competitions in the world. A total of 23 countries are participating in this year’s event, each filled with talented teenagers determined to impress with the World Under 20 Championships in Cali, Colombia less than a month away.

Conditions were perfect, a calm day of 26 degrees, promising the potential of fast performances on the track and technical excellence in the field, and the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team did not disappoint.

First to compete, Sophie Ashurst (Andy Ashurst, Sale Harriers Manchester) set the tone of success, topping the podium in the pole vault. The 19-year-old was delighted with her 4.15m victory – not just a season’s best equalling performance, but also another successful vault over the required qualifying height for selection for Cali. Ashurst took much from the performance, having moved up to trial the pole she hopes to use at the World U20 Championships.

In the men’s 100m event, there were personal best performances from Michael Onilogbo (Carl Graham, Newham & Essex Beagles) and Medwin Odamtten (Gladys Bird, Woodford Green Essex Ladies), however frustratingly the wind speed for each was a fraction over the legal limit at +2.1m/s. Onilogbo won the first heat in 10.33, with Odamtten chasing hard for second place in his windy personal best time of 10.41.

There was an impressive performance also from Jeriel Quainoo (Ryan Freckleton, Blackheath and Bromley), easily winning his heat in 10.35 seconds (+0.1). Coming extremely close to their PBs, Tyler Panton (Peter Griffiths, Woking) and Olutimilehin Esan (Crawley) both ran times of 10.59 with the identical wind speeds of -0.3m/s.

In the women’s 100m, the fastest GB&NI performance came from Joy Eze (Michael Donnelly, Gateshead), easily winning her heat in a season’s best time of 11.54 (+0.7), and another qualifying performance, bettering the Cali standard of 11.60 seconds.

Alyson Bell (Giffnock North) was rewarded with a Scottish U20 record with her personal best time of 11.57 into a slight headwind (-0.5m/s). Also there was a personal best for Brooke Ironside (Zac Kerin, Bournemouth) with 11.70 (+0.2).

There were three combined events athletes competing in individual events for GB&NI. In the 110m hurdles there was an encouraging start to the day for decathlete Sammy Ball (Michael Dyer, Reading). He was second in his heat with a huge PB of 14.26 (+1.1m/s), his pre-Mannheim best being 14.62 seconds. And in the B Final Ball again impressed, running the second fastest time of his life,14.46 seconds with a windspeed of +0.4 m/s.

In women’s events, Eloise Hind (Marcia Marriott, Oxford City) and Ella Rush (David Feeney, Amber Valley & Erewash) have both achieved the World U20 Championships heptathlon standard, so this opportunity offered key competition as they seek selection later this month.

There was a personal best time for Hind in the 100m hurdles. Hind was fifth in her heat but reduced her PB from 14.44 seconds to 14.31 (+0.3), the improvement worth a valuable 18 points in heptathlon scoring.

Ella Rush was just shy of her personal best in the 100 metres. The UK Indoor Pentathlon Champion ran 12.26 seconds into a slight headwind of -0.5m/s.

Tomorrow, there will be the opportunity to see the sprint relay teams in action. The women’s 4x100m relay squad contains three members of the gold-medal winning relay team from last year’s European U20 Championships in Estonia: Alyson Bell (Giffnock North), Success Eduan (Anita Richardson, Sale Harriers Manchester) and Joy Eze (Michael Donnelly, Gateshead). They’ll be joined in the relay squad by Brooke Ironside (Zac Kerin, Bournemouth), Millie King (Graham Holmes, Ipswich) and Sophie Walton (Trevor Williams, Horwich).

Jeriel Quainoo (Ryan Freckleton, Blackheath and Bromley), European relay gold medallist last summer and UK championships 200m bronze medallist, heads the men’s 4x100m team. He will be joined in the squad by Olutimilehin Esan (Crawley), Jason Kalala (Nat Senior, Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets), Medwin Odamtten (Gladys Bird, Woodford Green Essex Ladies), Michael Onilogbo (Carl Graham, Newham & Essex Beagles) and Tyler Panton (Peter Griffiths, Woking).


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