16th July 2022
SEVERAL BOOK SPOTS AT WORLD ATHLETICS U20 CHAMPIONSHIPS AT ENGLAND CHAMPS
Middle-distancer Ethan Hussey (coach: Andrew Henderson, club: Leeds City), steeplechaser Thomas Bridger (Mark Vile, Cambridge & Coleridge AC), sprinter Jeriel Quanioo (Ryan Freckleton, Blackheath & Bromley) and throwers Cleo Agyepong (John Hillier, Blackheath & Bromley) and Michael Allison (Tom Dobbing, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) were among athletes to seal their places on the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team for the World Athletics U20 Championships on a packed day of action at the England Athletics U23 & U20 Championships in Bedford.
Day one featured no less than 24 track and field finals, including four age-group 100m deciders to close out the action, with those competing at under-20 level vying for places on the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team for next month’s World Athletics U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia. With temperatures peaking at 27 and winds serving as especially kind to sprinters in the later stages of the day, conditions were conducive to athletes delivering when it was mattered most.
A straight-final, the men’s 1500m saw pre-race favourite Ethan Hussey run a composed and controlled race to come away with the title. Settling on the shoulder of early-leader before taking control for the final 600m, Hussey was pushed over the final 200m by eventual silver-medallist Sam Mills (Exeter) but kept strong down the straight to take the title in 3:48.60, booking his ticket to Colombia in doing so having already registered the 3:43.00 qualifying mark. Mills’ time of 3:49.13 marked a personal best, with Ben Sandilands (Stephen Doig, Fife), a T20 athlete, taking bronze in 3:50.42.
After collecting his medal, Hussey reflected: “It was about doing what I needed to do really – pretty early on the gaps started to open up so I just covered it straight away and made sure to bide my time really. Coming up to 600m to go I was itching to go and string it out, then it was just a case of getting the job done – it all bodes well [for the world U20] now.”
Having looked sublime in qualifying earlier in the day to post 10.27, Jeriel Quanioo made the men’s U20 100m final all his, scorching to victory in 10.27 (+2.4m/s) to claim both gold and his place at the world U20s after pulling away from the field. Michael Onilogbo (Carl Graham, Newham & Essex Beagles), an athlete who too holds the world junior qualifier, claimed second in 10.34, another impressive performance to back up his 10.36 from earlier in the day, with Mewdin Odamtten (Gladys Bird, Woodford Green Essex Leadies) squeezing bronze by sheer thousandths of a second with 10.36 (.359).
Speaking on his victory, and acknowledging his fellow medallists, Quanioo said: “It was stacked, but I stuck to my game plan – I’m very happy with the outcome and result, and huge congratulations to my fellow medallists as well – these boys are very, very talented and I’m not going to write anyone off. I’ve been feeling good all season, and I don’t really get opportunities like this to get my family and friends out to support me – it’s amazing.”
With three athletes entering the race with the qualifying mark and only two able to be selected individually, the women’s U20 sprint final also delivered on its promise to be fiercely fought, with European U18 champion Nia Wedderburn-Goodison (Harrow) putting daylight between herself and the rest of the field in the closing stage of the race to clock 11.50 (+0.8) for gold. Six-hundredths of a second back was Joy Eze (Gateshead) in 11.56, while having earlier qualified with the quickest time, Hilary Gode (Godfrey Brown, Leeds City) completed the podium with 11.63.
The U23 women’s 100m final went the way of Eve Wright (Ryan Freckleton, Shaftesbury Barnet) following an unmatchable mid-section to her race, her winning time of 11.56 (+1.4m/s) seeing her just outside her personal best of 11.54 set earlier this summer in Stratford, but enough to top the podium all the same. Leonie Ashmeade (Lewis Samuel, Wakefield District Harriers) set a huge personal best coming behind Wright for second, her time of 11.60 taking 0.11 off her quickest previous. A tenth back, Australian Kristie Edwards took third in 11.70.
The final of the four 100m finals, the wind eased for the men’s U23 conclusion, helping the top three be rewarded with personal bests for their fine runs. While it looked to be David Morgan-Harrison’s win 10m out from the line, Alwayne Campbell pulled back at him and dipped to victory, his time of 10.35 (.342) with a +0.9m/s windspeed sneaking him into gold ahead Morgan Harrison, who mirrored the time but lost out on thousandths of a second.
The women’s U23 1500m final saw it between two at the bell, Australian Jaylah Hancock-Cameron finally breaking clear to take the victory, with Alexandra Millard (Bill Foster. Invicta East Kent) taking silver overall courtesy of 4:12.95. and Emily Simpson (City of Sheffield) bronze in 4:23.37.
The men’s U23 final saw a 16-man field strung out from the 400m mark, with Australian Matthew Hussey taking control of the final proceedings to run clear for the win. Chasing him down to no avail, silver went the way of John Howorth in 3:51.74 (James Thie, Team Bath), with Remi Adebiyi (Badr-Eddine Sharaz, Newport Harriers) half a second back in 3:52.24 for bronze.
Two heats served to decide who would make it through to tomorrow’s women’s U20 final in the last of the day’s 1500m action, with Jess Bailey (Matthew Long, Leven Valley) marginally the quickest of 12 athletes to progress.
The first race of the day to decide spots for Cali’s championships, Thomas Bridger cantered to victory and sealed his place on the team having already achieved the qualifying mark pre-championships.
Finishing just outside the nine-minute mark in 9:02.27, Bridger was followed in by Australian guest-runner Alexander Kwa (9:12.31), with Tom Heal (Dave Lee, Taunton AC) and Luke Birdseye (Shireen Higgins, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) running a personal bests of 9:13.08 to come in for bronze.
The same race accommodated the men’s U23 steeplechase medals, with the age-group podium made up by Bradley Burke (Horsham Harriers), Lewis Harknett (Orion Harriers) and Ben Thomas (Carmarthen & District Harriers), their times 9:25.30, 9:29.46 and 9:32.20.
European U18 champion Cleo Agyepong took the spoils in the women’s U20 Shot, producing the three furthest marks of the competition, the best of which was a 14.82m effort in round two to take gold and pencil herself in for a spot on the plane to Colombia. The 17-year-old has already achieved the qualifying mark of 15.10m following a 15.16m personal best throw in Woking last month, and now has her sights set on another GB vest.
Speaking post-competition, Agyepong said: “I wanted a bit further, but I did throw the standard before coming here, so I wasn’t banking on just this competition. If I get selected [for Colombia], I’d hope to get a personal best – I’ll probably be one of the youngest athletes there, being 17, and would be competing against girls who are 19, so it’d be about getting as close to them as possible.”
Zac Davies (Stuart Carlaw, Harrow) seized his opportunity to shine in the men’s event, with a best throw of 17.63m adding 1cm to his personal best and ensuring the top step of the podium was his, with Rhys Allen (David Calla way, Newham & Essex Beagles) registering 17.16m for silver, and Welshman Dafydd Pawlett (Pembrokeshire) putting 16.20m for bronze.
The women’s javelin saw Harriet Mortlock (Robert Cooper, Basildon AC) throw a significant personal best to take the title, her 50.38m mark adding over two metres to her previous best of 48.29m. Silver medallist Eva Gerand almost followed suit with a personal best of her own, throwing just 6cm short of doing so with 44.50m, while Sophie Hamilton won bronze with 43.38m.
The final field event of the day, Michael Allison led the men’s javelin from start to finish as he comprehensively booked his spot on the plane. Entering the championships with the 69m qualifying mark already under his belt, Allison opened with 60.59m before improving to 66.13m in round two, before then closing with 67.16m to finish with a flourish.
Behind him, both Aryan Sameer Padaruth (Andrew Wilcock, Hillingdon) and Charlie Oliver Evans (Felicity Dawes, Banbury) saved their best throws until the second half of the competition, Padaruth throwing 64.61m in round five to wrestle silver, Evans producing 64.17m in round four for bronze.
On the back-straight, the men’s U20 pole vault saw Lazarus Benjamin (Sale Harriers) come out on top, with a clean scorecard up to 5.00m, a height he then cleared first-time out, affording him the win. With the world junior qualifying mark of 5.20m secured at last month’s UK Senior Championships, Benjamin will now turn his attention to competing on the global stage. Completing the rostrum behind the Sale Harrier were Oluwafemi Segun (Gordon John Lillis, Dartford Harriers) and Barnaby Corry (John Wakeman, Blackheath & Bromley), the pair registering marks of 4.20m and 4.00m respectively.
Sophie Ashurst (Andy Ashurst, Sale Harriers) will join Benjamin in competing in the pole vault in Colombia having navigated the women’s U20 competition to take gold with 4.00m, the mark one of less significance as she entered the competition with the 4.20m required to make the plane. Registering the same 4.00m mark but with a scorecard carrying a failure at the height, Gemma Tutton (Richard Pilling, Lewes AC) won silver, and Manon Baines’s (Conrad Kalinowski, Shaftesbury Barnet) 3.50m was good for bronze.
In one-lap action, Yemi Mary John (Alan James, Woodford Green Essex Ladies) heads into tomorrow’s women’s U20 400m final as the fastest qualifier following a commanding 53.24 victory in heat 1, while Poppy Malik (Grant Barker, Notts) clocked 54.29 to take the tape in the second of the two heats. Already carrying the qualifying mark for Colombia, John will now look to secure a top-two finish tomorrow.
Of the U23 heats, Hannah Kelly (Les Hall, Bolton/Birmingham University) leads the field of the U23 women, with 54.92 seeing her emerge as the quickest qualifier ahead of tomorrow’s concluder, and Australian guest Callum Rorison heads the entries in the men’s field along with Connor Neal (Thanet AC) after their 48.01 and 48.13 postings.
Men’s U20 action saw Brodie Young (James McMenemy, Jaguars) emerge as the fastest qualifier into tomorrow’s final, his 47.68 nearly a second quicker than any of those joining him in progressing through.
Arguably the celebration of the day went to Onyekachukwu Okoh following a huge 400m hurdles lifetime best, lowering his previous best from 51.63 to 51.29 following a brilliant gun to tape run. Not only a huge time progression, Okoh’s new best took him inside the World U20 qualifying mark of 51.30 ahead of tomorrow’s U20 event final.
The women’s U20 400m Hurdles final saw Emily Newnham (Shaftesbury Barnet) storm clear to a comfortable victory, her time of 59.47 putting metres between her and the rest of the field. For silver medallist Amelia Briggs-Goode (Mark Goode Notts), her time of 1.02.20 was agonisingly close to her current personal best of 1:02.18, though it was good enough to take her clear of bronze medallist Rachel Callan (Giffnock North).
Qualifying rounds for the women’s U23 Hurdles saw Amy Pye (Colin Bovell, Cannock & Stafford) and Orla Brennan (Neil Dodson, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) lead the way on time, both clocking inside 62 seconds, while Peter John Curtis (Dale Garland, Guernsey) will head up tomorrow’s men’s U23 final after a season’s best 52.13 saw him progress quickest by far.
An event featuring two senior guest athletes in Paralympic champion Aled Davies (Ryan Spencer-Jones, Cardiff) and GB&NI international Greg Thompson (Neville Thompson, Shaftesbury Barnet), the podium for the men’s U23 Discus was led by Chukwuemeka Osammor (James Taylor, City of Sheffield) with 56.21m. James Tomlinson (Nick Ridgeon, Pembrokeshire) was a metre back with 51.86m for silver, with Joshua Douglas’s (William Bushnell, Southampton) 49.83m good for bronze. The same competition saw Welshman Davies smash the F42 Discus record with 56.21m, subject to ratification, a record he had already revised just some days ago with 54.56m.
In the women’s event of the same age group, Shadine Duquemin’s (Shaftesbury Barnet, Zane Duquemin) sixth-round best of 54.76m more than secured victory, with her four other legal throws un-matched by her competitors. Throwing her best effort of 47.67m in round one, Taia Tunstall (Stuart Carlaw, Harrow) won silver following a solid series, with Australian Sally Shokry third for bronze.
Moved to accommodate the warm temperatures, both the men’s and women’s 3000m finals opened the programme. With the world U20 trials races held as part of the UK Senior Championships last month, athletes were battling it out for English title spoils.
First up, the men’s race saw European U18 medallist Edward Bird (Mark Pauley, Poole AC) do just enough to hold on for gold, the winning margin being four-hundredths of a second ahead of the fast-finishing Bradley Giblin, the times 8:17.59 to 8:17.73, both personal best marks. Peter Bradshaw (Norrie Hay, Inverclyde AC) completed the podium with 8:19.70, also a lifetime best.
In the women’s equivalent, Kaityln Sheppard (Andrew Beadle, Cheltenham & Country Harrier) took a commanding victory in a personal best of 9:38.09, finishing ahead of Ellen Weir (Anne Hegvold, Hercules Wimbledon AC) and Jasmine Young’s (Shireen Higgins, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) 9:47.88 and 9:53.30 respectively.
In the men’s U20 Hammer – and coming into the championships with his eyes set on the 70.00m qualifying mark – Owen Merrett (Yate, Matt Spicer) produced a brilliant 69.93m with his second throw to add 15cm to his previous and fall just short of the qualifying mark for Colombia. Making up the podium with Merrett were Harry Rickets (Bob Broadridge, Reading AC) and Toby Conibear (Matt Spicer, Yate & District)
The first field event of the day, Jessica Bennett (David Callaway, Southampton) came out on top in the women’s equivalent, a second-round best of 53.39m seeing her top the English podium ahead of Lara Moffat (Jack Kee, Marshall Milton Keynes) and Lily Murray (Gareth Cook, Swale Combined AC), their marks 49.93m and 48.58m.
Tackling changing head and tailwinds, the men’s triple jump competition saw Toby Wakefield (John Shepherd, Blackheath & Bromley) pip pre-event favourite Archie Yeo (Stephen Wymark, Kingston upon Hill) to the title, with only an agonisingly illegal tailwind of +2.1m/s on his winning mark of 15.20m seeing him denied an upgrade on his lifetime best. For Yeo, a clutch sixth-round 15.15m (+0.5m/s) bumped him up into silver following a difficult series, while Daniel Akinradewo (Tom Cullen, Trafford) saved his best until last, with a final leap of 14.86m (+2.1m/s) clinching him bronze.
Hours later the women’s U20 triple jumpers took the track, with Georgina Scoot (Richard Derrick, Torbay) securing the win thanks to a fifth-round best of 12.49m (+1.1m/s), the jump coming in response to Melissa Booth (Keith Hunter, Sale Harriers) taking the lead with 12.28m (+1.0m/s), a mark which would consequently secure silver. Amy Warre (Keith Fleming, Windsor Sligh Eton & Hounslow) took home bronze with 12.23m (+1.0).
Other vertical jumps action saw Holly Mills (Laura Turner-Alleyne, Andover AC) produce a season’s best jump of 6.37m (+1.0m/s) as part of a consistent series to win the U23 women’s long jump. Behind Mills, Jodie Smith (Laura Turner-Alleyne, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) produced a sixth-round 6.22m to bump herself into silver, and Australian Brittany Carroll was third.
In the men’s U23 age group of the same event, Jake Burkey’s sixth-round 7.35m (+1.1m/s) was good for the win, pipping Australia’s Zane Branco [7.25m +0.1m/s]. Dominic Ogbechie’s 7.08m (-0.9m/s) – one of his two legal jumps – saw him take bronze.
On the in-field, Kelechi Aguocha’s (Blackheath & Bromley) best of 2.16m was more than enough for U23 men’s high jump gold, with what would have been a personal best of 2.19m just evading him after three attempts. Divine Duruaku’s (Adam Gallie, Notts AC) clean scorecard until 2.10m earned him silver ahead of Toni Ademuwagun (Thames Valley Harriers), who cleared the same height with one failure.
Australian Emily Whelan emerged victorious from a field of four in the women’s U23 event, with Lauren Evans (Fyn Corcoran, Cardiff) and Emily Race (Peter Anthony Fendley, Worksop) sharing silver having mirrored one another’s scorecards to records bests of 1.69m. on the day.
The last set of day’s heats saw plenty of 800m action, kicking off with three women’s U20 qualifiers to narrow the crop of athletes down to eight. Ella Greenway (Joanna Louise Evans, Cleethorpes) led the way with the quickest time of 2:11.37, though Abigail Ives (Luke Gunn, Basildon) will head into tomorrow’s final as favourite courtesy of her rapid 2:01.88 personal best achieved earlier this summer. The same goes for Will Bellamy in tomorrow’s U20 men’s final, with his best of 1:51.53 making him one to watch following safe passage through the heats.
Eddie Hunter (Dean Miller, Leeds City) was the swiftest through the men’s U23 heats courtesy of 1:51.97, just three-tenths off his best.
Action resumes tomorrow from 09:50am, starting with the U20 and U23 men’s and women’s 5000m Race Walks. The full timetable for the Championships can be viewed online here.
The Selection Policy for the 2022 World Athletics U20 Championships is available to read here.