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treble relay success for GB & NI juniors in loughborough

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Relay LIA

17 May 2015

The Great Britain & Northern Ireland junior team excelled at the 57th edition of the Loughborough International, particularly in the relays with three victories and a close second place to end a highly entertaining day of action. The squad finished second in the team match behind England and took some notable victories throughout the day.

The women’s 4x400m team won a thrilling race as Laviai Nielsen (Frank Adams) ran a storming last leg to overtake Scotland and earn victory. After some scrappy changeovers by all the teams, Scotland had a 15m lead going into the final leg but the 19 year-old showed her class in the closing stages. Her twin sister Lina (Adams), Cheriece Hylton (John Blackie) and Lily Beckford (Christine Bowmaker) had set up Neilsen well to finish in 3:37.24. The men’s 4x400m finished comfortably in second in an encouraging display.

Laviai had earlier claimed the scalps of international relay medallist Kelly Massey (Stephen Ball) and Meghan Beesley (Nick Dakin) in a landmark 400m victory for the London 2012 kit carrier. The Enfield & Haringey athlete won in a time of 52.87 as she claimed the first win of the day for the GB & NI juniors’ team.

“I’m happy with that because it was so windy – I was just thinking ‘don’t overcook this, just run smart’, said the BUCS silver medallist, whose twin sister Lina finished fourth in the race in 54.08.

On hearing she was the first GB & NI junior winner on the day: “Fantastic, that’s such a relief. I knew it was about doing it for the team, not just an individual thing. I was so nervous (racing with Kelly Massey and Meghan Beesley on the inside lanes) so I was running scared but I ran how I always do and it worked out.”

There was double success in the 4x100m for the GB & NI juniors as the men and women took the LIA titles. Firstly, the women’s team compiled of Daryll Neita (Tawiah-Dodoo), Shannon Hylton (Blackie), Kristie Edwards (Lewis Samuel) and Charlotte McLennaghan (David Hourd) all made clean changeovers to win in 44.49.

Ojie Edoburun (Tawiah-Dodoo) held off the England team on the final leg to dramatically match the women’s achievement. The team also contained Theo Etienne, Tommy Ramdhan and Reuben Arthur (all Freckleton) and they finished in 40.32 which will give them encouragement ahead of the European Juniors in Sweden this July.

“I think we have a really good set-up this year and there is a good morale in the team. I take pride in having the responsibility of bringing it home for my country, it is always an honour", said Edoburun who is in his last year as a junior athlete.

Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) ran a wind-assisted 10.04 (+2.1) in an encouraging season opener to beat his training partner Edoburun into second (10.24) and blow away the rest of the field. The Enfield & Haringey athlete ran under the magical ten second barrier last year and this is his second quickest 100m in his career, albeit wind-assisted.

Ujah returned to take on the 200m which is a rarity for the athlete but he stormed around in a PB of 20.50 in a legal wind time to end a successful day on the track. GB & NI juniors’ Tommy Ramdhan (Freckleton) was fourth in a European Junior qualifying standard of 21.00 (+1.9).

The European 60m Indoor finalist said after his 200m: “I feel as though I am in better shape than 20.50 but I think I’m probably tired from the 100m. I feel as though I am much more consistent this year, 100%.”

Shannon Hylton gained revenge on Margaret Adeoye (Linford Christie) as she seized victory in the 200m and improved her PB from 23.24 to 22.94 (+2.0). European relay medallist Adeoye had earlier beaten the 18 year-old over 100m, however, the 200m was a stunning performance from the GB & NI athlete.

A shocked Hylton said: “I knew I could run a quick time but I didn’t think I could run under 23 seconds so early in the season. I knew I had to get out hard because I had Margaret (Adeoye) and Charlotte (McLennaghan) on the inside lanes but I’m so happy with that today.”

The hammer competition kicked off the day’s events and the athletes did not let the crowd down in terms of entertainment value. Mark Dry was only four centimetres off the British record held by Nick Miller (John Baumann), who was second, but it was still a Scottish record of 76.93m.

There was an European Junior qualifying times for Bobby Clay in the 1500m, running a season best of 4:15.85. The Kent-based athlete faced months on the side lines with injury but has returned in the kind of form which saw her reach the World Junior Championships 1500m final last year. Jess Judd (George Gandy), representing Loughborough University held off a battle with Alison Leonard (Bud Baldaro) on the final lap to take the match victory in a time of 4:12.67.

Adele Nicoll (Vladimir Zinchenko) just missed out on the mark by three centimetres 14.97m but showed signs of getting that significant mark and Rory Dwyer (Paul Bearman) jumped 2.12m in the men's high jump.

In the long jump, Jess Ennis-Hill (Toni Minichiello) returned to field event action for the first time in two years and jumped 6.16m for second place behind the rapidly-improving Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) who won for England in 6.29m. GB & NI juniors’ athlete Emily Wright (Daniel Cossins) finished in sixth, jumping 5.94m. The Olympic heptahlon champion later threw 43.88m in the javelin as she continues her comeback.

Other notable results saw Serita Solomon (Michelle Bovell) run a PB in the 100m hurdles of 13.05 (+1.9) and Sophie Hitchon (Tore Gustafsson) threw a season best in the hammer of 71.02m.

Full results can be found here: http://loughboro.athletics-uk.org/