18th May 2018

Hahn and Aikines-Aryeetey notch wins at Great City Games Manchester

Paralympic champion Sophie Hahn (Joseph McDonnell) and Commonwealth gold medallist Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Benke Blomkvist) both gave the home fans something to cheer at the Great City Games Manchester, notching victory as athletics took over the city.

Hahn, who claimed Commonwealth gold last month to complete the set of major international titles, won the women’s T37/38 150m in what was her first ever street race as Manchester’s Deansgate was transformed into a pop-up athletics straight for the night.

Fellow Commonwealth champion from the Gold Coast, this time part of England’s 4x100m relay quartet, Aikines-Aryeetey was also victorious in a tightly contested men’s 100m tussle with teammate Richard Kilty.

Elsewhere David King (James Hillier), Georgie Hermitage (Paul MacGregor), Zak Skinner (Aston Moore), Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Brauman) and Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox) all placed second in their respective events as the action took place at Albert Square as well as on Deansgate.

Hahn lined up against fellow Brits Hermitage, Katrina Hart (Robert Ellchuk) and Bethany Tucker (Mark Lodge) in a great showcase for Paralympic sprinting in the T37/38 150m, winning in 19.29 seconds and admitting afterwards that she had to keep her focus during an unfamiliar distance.

She said: “Normally when you run 150m there is a bend and it is really tactical but it was great out there and the crowd really got behind us. Running straight for 150m is quite challenging. In the 100m you can keep momentum but I told myself not to tie up and to keep relaxed and cross the line.

“I won’t compete now until June. I have got a good four weeks of solid training and then I’ll be good to go for the next race. It is great to have Para events included like this and going forward there should be more Para events included in events like this.”

Aikines-Aryeetey took victory in the men’s 100m by 0.02 ahead of teammate Kilty, his winning time 10.35, with the 29-year-old simply content to cross the line first in a race that saw fellow Brits Sam Osewa (Lloyd Cowan) third and Andrew Robertson fourth.

“Richard and I have been putting in a lot of load this week and weren’t expecting to run anything rapidly fast. It is a long season and at this event you try to get used to the structure of the race,” said Aikines-Aryeetey.

“The first ten to 20m I was a little bit behind but not too far. There was a slight bit of panic but then I relaxed and I eased my way into the race and started to use the track rather than try to run it. It was nice, 10.35 is nothing amazing but it was good to win a race.”

The men’s 110m hurdles was perhaps the most eventful on Deansgate with King finishing second behind Poland’s Damian Czykier with Andrew Pozzi (Blomkvist) third and American Aires Merritt falling to fourth late on.

King like Pozzi has contested the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham and the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast already this year and will slowly build towards this summer’s European Championships in Berlin.

He said: “I was pleased with where I finished in the race but my race in itself wasn’t great. It is always a good one to do. It is a hard track to run fast on and you almost need to pace yourself just to get through the race.

“I can take positives from it. My next race is in Bydgoszcz and that is where my PB is from and I will prepare for that and see if I can get close to it. I have the British Champs to focus on as well building to Berlin and I need to run the standards but everything is on track.”

The men’s pole vault kicked off the event, taking place on Albert Square with Commonwealth bronze medallist Cutts and British indoor champion Adam Hague (Fox) both settling for 5.30m.

Cutts placed highest in second following a better series with Hague a further two places back in fourth as Italian Matteo Cristoforo Capello split the British pair in third. Frenchman Stanley Joseph took victory with a clearance of 5.60m.

Hague said: “That was tough but I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the crowd cheering me on. It is still quite early in the season and I have a few things to work on ahead of Berlin [European Championships but we will get there.”

Skinner was the first Brit in action as the events on Deansgate got underway, finishing second in the T13 150m in 16.73. Multiple Paralympic champion Jason Smyth came out on top in 15.82.

Olympic finalist Sawyers was also second in the women’s long jump as she equalled her effort from less than a week ago in the USA. Sawyers finished her four jumps on Albert Square with a best of 6.43m.

Elsewhere Bianca Williams (Cowan) and Finette Agyapong (Coral Nourrice) were third and fourth respectively in the women’s 150m, which ended proceedings in Manchester. Alicia Barrett (Toni Minichiello) and Yasmin Miller (Robert Smith) finished in the same position respectively in the women’s 100m hurdles while Jacob Paul (Marina Armstrong) was third over double the distance in the men’s 200m hurdles.