22nd June 2019


A total of 16 athletes earned themselves auto-selection for the European Under-20 and Under-23 Championships on day one of the age-group trials in Bedford.

The European Under-23 selections were led by British indoor 60m champion Dom Ashwell (coach: Marvin Rowe; club: Shaftesbury Barnet) and World Under-20 Championship double bronze medallist Kristal Awuah (Matthew Thomas; Herne Hill), who stormed to the men’s and women’s 100m titles respectively.

Ashwell held off the challenge of Kaie Chambers Brown (Sharon Morris; Birchfield Harriers) and Oliver Bromby (Southampton AC) to add the under-23 title to his British indoor triumph from February, clocking 10.60s to win.

European indoor finalist Awuah meanwhile stormed through the rounds and headed into the final as the fastest on paper. She duly added to the under-20 title she won last year, stopping the clock in 11.58s to pick up a second consecutive crown in Bedford.

Speaking after being crowned champion, Awuah said: “It is always good to win. The time wasn’t what I wanted but into a head wind it is good and I got quicker through the rounds so I am really happy. It is all about putting my race together. I think once you put your race together you always get the same result even with the wind.

“I was consistent and getting quicker through the rounds and hopefully when it matters the wind is in the real place and it all comes to plan. I’ve come through from under-20 and now into under-23 and it is so good to be to keep the same dominance and hopefully I can get quicker through the year.”

Charlotte Williams (Mick Hitchon; Blackburn) led the qualifiers for the European Under-20 Championships as she threw a personal best 62.84m to move to second on the all-time British junior list.

She saved her best effort until the final round to overtake Charlotte Payne (Paul Dickenson; Newbury) and secure herself automatic selection in the women’s hammer. Only Hitchon’s daughter Sophie is now above her for her age group.

European leader Amy Hunt (Joe McDonnell; Charnwood) stormed home in 11.79s to take the women’s under-20 100m crown, comfortably, with Jeremiah Azu (Helen James; Cardiff) clocking 10.76s as he held off the challenge of Chad Miller (Ryan Freckleton; Hercules Wimbledon) to secure the win in the men’s race.

There was more success in the men’s under-20 hammer as Ben Hawkes (Eric Davison; Worthing) shattered his personal best to achieve the European Under-20 qualifying standard. He launched the six kilogram instrument out to 73.15m and earned auto-selection for Borås.

On achieving the standard and auto-selection, Hawkes said: “It’s been a long time coming and I’m really happy that I’ve managed to get the job done. I let out quite a big scream when I let go of that. I didn’t know how far it was going to be but I knew it was far. When I made the Loughborough International team I was so happy but to have earned an automatic selection spot with that is really special for me.”

Fellow thrower Lewis Byng (Stuart Carlaw; Stratford-upon-Avon) backed up his recent personal best of 19.14m by winning the men’s under-20 shot put, defending his title, with an 18.94m effort. Sarah Omoregie (Gareth Lease; Cardiff) throwing 4cm shy of her best after launching a 15.41m for the women’s crown.

More field success came as Stephen McKenzie (Linda Nicholson; Pitreavie) produced a lifetime best of 7.59m in the under-20 long jump with a favourable 1.7m/s tailwind, while in the combined men’s 3000m steeplechase, Kristian Imroth (Shaftesbury Barnet) set a three-second personal best of 9:03.42 to gain another under-20 automatic selection spot.

In the first track action of the day, Alex Knibbs (Nick Dakin; Amber Valley & Erewash) secured automatic selection for the men’s 400m hurdles for the European Under-23 Championships as he clocked 51.24s to take the win.

Tom Gale (Dennis Doyle; Team Bath) earned himself an automatic qualification spot in the men’s high jump for the under-23s as he sailed clear at 2.25m, notching a season’s best mark in the process.

For Gale, after the disappointment of having his competition in Geneva cut short by bad weather, he feels relieved to be able to be back jumping at what he knows he is capable of.

He said: “It’s one of those things that’s taken a long time to get back to a point where I’m actually happy with where I’m jumping. I’m top of the rankings again and to come out and be attempting 2.28m and 2.30m again I’m really happy with that.

“I had a messy start to the comp and that tired me out so the later attempts were heavier than I wanted them to be but going forward, if I can get more consistency in the earlier heights and work on some technical points, that 2.28m or 2.30m mark should come.”

Morgan Lake (Fuzz Caan; WSEH) took victory in the women’s under-23 high jump, clearing a season’s best outdoors of 1.92m, while back at the venue where she improved her personal best by half-a-metre last year, Alice Hopkins (Marcia Marriott; Oxford City) added a further five centimetres onto her best with a 6.51m (1.1) leap in the women’s under-23 long jump.

George Armstrong (Zane Duquemin; Newham & Essex Beagles) also reinforced his status as the best for his age as in testing conditions, he launched the discus out to 56.98m for a third consecutive under-23 title in the event, bagging auto-selection for Gävle in the process.