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Byres sets Record in Bedford

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Katie Byers

17 June 2012

Day two at the Aviva Junior World Championships Trials rewarded the crowd that packed the Bedford International Athletic Stadium with a series of fantastic performances that included a British Junior Record and several marks beating the World Championships qualifying Standard.

Pole vaulter Katie Byres (coach: Julien Raffalli-Ebezant) set a new under-20 Record with a 4.36m leap, an improvement of 16cm over her previous outdoor best and enough to get the Sale Harriers Manchester athlete on the plane to Barcelona. The event, originally scheduled for yesterday but postponed due to the strong crosswinds, saw no challenge to Byres’s domination, with main rival Lucy Bryan not taking part; both athletes, however, had already achieved the qualifying standard and look set to compete in the World Championships in July.

While Byres’s was arguably the performance of the day, several other athletes made the selectors take note, and none caused a bigger uproar than Joshua Street (Matthew Thomas): the South London Harrier choose the Trials to smash through the 200m standard, clocking an impressive 20.90 that hands him a place in the team with a new PB almost half a second faster than his previous best.

“I had already run 21s three times this season and I really wanted to break that barrier – today I have done it” said an incredibly pleased Street, while receiving the congratulations from his rival Gemili. “I am very pleased of having made the team to Barcelona but I will try to keep it down and focus just on my next races without letting it get me too worked up. The Olympic Trials are next week and that’s what I’ll be thinking about now.”

With David Bolarinwa (John Powell) and Adam Gemili (Michael Afilaka) both having achieved the standard but electing not to compete in the 200m final, Street’s performance - and the guarantee of a place for the World Championships team - mean that some difficult choices await the selectors, but assure everyone else of a strong relay squad, testament to the quality of Junior sprinting in the UK at this moment.

There is no doubt, though, who is going on the selectors’ list for the 110m hurdles. A brilliant performance by James Gladman (James Hillier) saw the Warrington athlete smash through his previous personal best of 13.63s, setting a new time of 13.50 that went without reply in the final.

Gladman, who trains alongside top athletes like Andy Pozzi and Lawrence Clarke, was delighted with his performance:

“There were perfect conditions and I felt really fast in the race, I had been doing 13.6’s for a while and I knew that when it clicked, I would have run a time like this. There was no better time to do it!”

“I have a race in Mannheim next week, where I will try to get another fast time to build on today’s race and get in good shape to the World Juniors. I know I am capable of these performances, I know I had good times indoors and my training is going really well so I believe I can go even a little bit quicker.”

After a commanding win in the 100m, Sophie Papps (Neil Dodson) doubled up to the 200 to deny Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) for the second day in succession. Papps’s time of 23.48s puts her first in the British 2012 rankings, helping the young sprinter leapfrog Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan), whose best time in this season is 23.59s.

“All the work I put in training on the 200m finally paid off” were the first words of Papps after crossing the line first. “Dina got a great start and had a really good race, so that pushed me to this time. All the quality in the sprints over the last two days is great for the relay team, once we get to Barcelona, who knows what we can do.”

Two 2011 World Youth Championships athletes will be reunited in the team for Barcelona as both discus thrower Nick Percy (John Hillier) and long jumper Jazmin Sawyer (Tony Williams) won their event after having achieved the qualifying standard. Percy put in a stunning performance in his competition, improving his PB on each of his six trials and setting the last three well beyond the distance needed to get him to the World Championships, something he hadn’t done yet coming into the event.

“It’s great to throw this nicely at a competition where all my family has come to watch me, as they don’t really get to see me a lot” said Percy, surrounded by family members in a really jubilant mood. “I am very pleased to have put in some very consistent throwing. With my coach we have been trying some new things, and these were the first throws when we introduced the reverse – I reckon that added easily three metres to my distances. We just need to make a few improvements to a few little things, technically, and we could get to the 60m mark.”

“My target before the season was to get to 58m before the end of the year, but I surpassed that today and I need a new target to get me to push a little bit further.”

Sawyer won the long jump event and, despite having the relative safety of having already gone past the 6.28m benchmark, cemented her selection by leaping 6.42m, a distance that puts her second in the British rankings behind Katarina Johnson-Thompson. “Quite a big PB, I am really pleased, especially because it’s legal!”

Sawyer already has further targets in her eyes: “I even feel I can jump a little bit further, so hopefully, come Barcelona and with some hard work between now and then, I will get there.”

Sean Molloy (Mark Hookway) was the winner in a competitive 800m final, while Emily Dudgeon (John Lees) was the women’s winner over the same distance; both athletes already had the qualifying time and their performances today ensure they will get to prove their talent against the world’s best in Barcelona. Joining them and the rest of the team will also be Emelia Gorecka (Mick Woods), who was a classy winner in the 3000m with a time of 9:22.11, and Shadine Duquemin (John Hillier) who set a new PB in the discus throw to bring her best to 51.31m.

World Junior Championships Team Leader Alan Richardson was pleased with the performances put in by the athletes over the two days of Trials.

“We saw some really competitive Championships, especially across a wide range of events – we had a great Junior Record by Katie Byres and the races in both sprints for men and women were really of high level.”

“Even in the distance events, where the weather conditions did not really help, there were some very promising results which reinforce the belief that we will have a very strong team going to Barcelona.”

Full results are available on the England Athletics Website.