20th May 2018


World bronze medallist Rabah Yousif (coach: Carol Williams), Seb Rodger (Stephen King) and Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste) all hit European qualifying marks at the Loughborough International while eight junior athletes targeting the World Junior Championships followed suit.

Yousif clocked a season’s best 45.74 seconds to win his 400m guest race, that time 0.21 inside the standard for the European Championships in Berlin in August, Rodger hit the 49.80 mark dead for victory in the 400m hurdles match race and Dobbin ducked under in the 200m.

Meanwhile sprinter Kristal Awuah (Matthew Thomas), who was representing the British junior team, Jona Efoloko (John Smith), Romell Glave (Paul Weston) and Georgina Adam (Denise Timms) as well as sprint hurdler Jason Nicholson (Janice Kaufman) all hit the standard for July’s World Junior Championships in Tampere.

The same could be said for middle distance specialist Isabelle Boffey (Douglas Stone), endurance runner Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods) and steeplechaser Holly Page (Jason Marchant), who succeeded in the British vest in Loughborough.

Yousif was arguably one of the stand-out performers of the day and, having been part of the England team on the Gold Coast in April for the Commonwealth Games, he won’t be rushing his summer season.

He said: “It was a very good day at the office. I am in pretty decent shape, it is early doors in the season, time isn’t important yet. It is important to stay healthy. In terms of fitness, I am in the best shape of my life so far and I am just going to take it easy, step by step and see how it goes.

“It has been a good day’s worth of work, I can go home now, recover and be ready for my next race. I need to go home and see my coach first and we will go from there.”

Dobbin ducked inside the European standard of 23.20 on the way to victory in the women’s 200m match race, clocking 23.14 ,while Rodger admitted fate was on his side as he did the same in the 400m hurdles.

He said: “I was happy with the hurdles, I’ve worked so much more on that this year and this year is going to be a big year going under 49 seconds. Things have gone my way there [getting the standard]. I thought it might have just ticked over but luck was on my side so I’m very happy. I wasn’t bothered if I had it at the time, I just wanted to win.”

Awuah was the first of the British juniors to hit a mark for Tampere in Loughborough after clocking 11.58 to finish just 0.05 seconds behind eventual winner and Olympic bronze and world silver medallist Daryll Neita (Jonas Dodoo).

“I think if I’d worked my second 10m better I would have been quicker, I wanted the win but I’m happy with my performance,” she said. “It’s my first race of the season and I’m really confident after that.

“I never race to be behind anyone, I race to win and I’m happy I can match that level as the season goes on. I’ve trained so much better and learnt to use my drive phase effectively and it’s all coming together,” she assessed.

Adam and Efoloko followed her lead with 23.62 and 20.86 respectively in the 200m while Boffey set a new personal best of 2:04 minutes for fourth in the women’s 800m match race.

Boffey said: “I’m ecstatic and I’m exhausted but I’ve run a really good race in really good conditions so I’m very happy. It was such a tough race, a lot of the girls competing are in-between running 2:02.00 and 2:05.00 and I needed to be in that push. I’m over the moon. To get the time and solidify it means I can now go to the nationals and smash it.”

Page clocked 10:13.98 to finish just inside the 10:15.00 standard for the 3000m steeplechase, while Quirk, in her first 3000m race of the year, produced a stunning 9:11.20 as she finished second behind popular home winner Jess Judd, having led for most of the race. Nicholson clocked 13.60 for the 110m hurdles standard in the final event of the day.

Dom Ashwell (Marvin Rowe) shaved another 0.03 off his season’s best as he recorded 10.54 in the men’s 100m match race, won by Deji Tobais (Simon Duberley) in 10.45, while John Otugade won his 100m guest race in 10.32, 0.05 outside the European standard.

Molly Caudery (Stuart Caudery), already in possession of the standard for the World Junior Championships, won the women’s pole vault with a best leap of 4.35m while world silver medallist Emily Diamond (Jared Deacon) enjoyed an outing over 200m, winning her guest 200m heat in 23.49.

Elsewhere Mark Dry secured his fourth straight Loughborough title in the men’s hammer throw with a best of 72.35m, to edge out Taylor Campbell (Tore Gustafsson), who had a best of 72.31m. Campbell’s younger brother Bayley (Paul Dickenson) came third with 69.91m his best.

Allan Smith (Bryan Roy) was just shy of hitting another European mark in the high jump, three centimetres off in settling for 2.23m. Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox) and Alicia Barrett (Toni Minichiello) were both victorious in the pole vault and 100m hurdles respectively having competed at the Manchester Great City Games on Friday.

In the women’s Para 100m, 400m specialist Sally Brown (Joe McDonnell) won in 13.64, with Laura Sugar (Joe McDonnell) following her over the line in 13.68. In the men’s 100m, James Arnott (Ryan Freckleton) clocked 11.46 to pip Zak Skinner (Aston Moore) to victory, the latter hit a time of 11.52, following up his second place finish in Manchester on Friday.

Brown said: “It went well for me, I was just doing it to have a bit of fun before I head into a big event. It was just that, a bit of fun and I enjoyed it. Primarily I’m a 400m runner so I don’t have anywhere to compare 13.63 to.

“I think it’s a good time but I’m not sure. My plan is to get to the Europeans for the 400m and the 200m. It was about getting used to running in-front of a crowd and getting running in my legs.”

F44 discus thrower Dan Greaves finished second with a best of 56.54, behind Brett Morse (Ryan Spencer-Jones), who won with a best of 59.61m.