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UK athletes in Antwerp action

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Personal bests by Adam Hickey, Tom Bilham and Kris Gauson were among the highlights achieved by Norwich Union GB athletes at the 42nd annual Antwerp Gala in Belgium on Saturday night, 26 August.

 

Racing went on until almost midnight in perfect conditions with a large and enthusiastic crowd three and four deep lining the track – and the teenagers who narrowly missed qualifying for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Beijing responded magnificently.

 

Gauson (City of Edinburgh) beat the World Juniors 1500m qualifying time in out-kicking seniors James Thie (Cardiff) and Chris Moss (also Cardiff). The young Scot covered the last lap of the A race in 57 seconds to clock 3:43.10 – a PB by 1.99sec – and snatch third place with Thie fourth in 3:43.20 and Moss fifth in 3:43.39. Belgian international Tom Compernolle won in 3:41.68 from Ali Kamal Tamer (Qatar), who was second in 3:42.87.

 

And the Brit boys doubled their joy in the 5000m B race. Hickey (Southend on Sea) won in 14:24.81 with Bilham (Newham and Essex Beagles) second in 14:25.21, which means there are now six UK Under 20s below the Power of 10 standard of 15:05.00 this season. Undeterred by the faster starts of older athletes from around the continent, they stuck to their own race plans and were content to race in the middle of the pack until the last four laps. Then they made their move, reeling-off laps of 61-62 seconds to dominate the closing stages. Josh Lilly, one of a strong Midland Counties AA representative squad at the meeting, finished seventh in 14:45.53.

 

Of the other young GB endurance runners at the meeting:

Martin Mashford (Aldershot, Farnham and District) won the 1500m B race in 3:50.42;

In the Men’s 800m A race, Ed Aston (Cambridge and Coleridge) was fifth in 1:50.10, James Mills (Wrexham) seventh in 1:50.59 and Matt Warley (Midland Counties AA) ninth in 1:51.37.

In the Women’s 800m, won by Karen Harewood (Corby) in 2:04.11, Lizi Brathwaite (Herts Phoenix) finished third in 2:05.64, Anna Simmonds (Midland Counties AA) fourth in 2:07.04, and two UK teenagers gained invaluable experience: Under 20 Linzi Snow (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) was sixth in 2:08.47 and Under 17 Alison Leonard (Chorley Harriers) eighth in 2:10.92;

In the Women’s 1500m, Faye Fullerton (Havering Mayesbrook) was third in a season’s best 4:13.67 with Juniors Jessica Sparke (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) sixth in 4:22.66 and Emma Pallant (Aldershot, Farnham and District) eighth in 4:27.70 with Claire Tarplee (Midland Counties AA) 10th in 4:28.32. The race was won by Malindi Elmore (Canada) in 4:09.39 from American Lauren Fleshman, who clocked 4:11.27.

 

Spencer Barden, the UK Athletics’ Senior Co-ordinator for Endurance who organised the trip to give the Juniors international experience, said: “It was money very well spent. They all lined up against athletes they had never heard of before. None of them was in awe of the senior opposition. And the three PBs were the icing on the cake.”

 

There were more UK successes in other events…

Rikki Fifton (Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets) won the faster Men’s 100m heat (wind: -0.2) in 10.48 seconds with Jermaine Downie (U20, Midland Counties AA) second in 10.55. Later Fifton was second in his 200m (wind: 0.3) in 20.96, behind Ireland’s Paul Hession, who clocked 20.76.

Anyika Onuora (Liverpool Harriers) won the faster 100m heat (wind: 0.1) in 11.54, 0.22sec clear of the field, with Under 20 Kayo Titiloye (Midland Counties AA) fourth in 25.23. Onuora completed a double by winning the quickest 200m (wind: -0.5) in 23.87.

Andrew Steele (Trafford) won the fastest 400m heat in 47.00 seconds.

Jennifer Culley (Belgrave Harriers) won her 400m hurdles heat in 61.09 before rushing back to Manchester and finishing fourth at the UK Challenge Final in 60.96. Lee McConnell (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) won the fastest heat in 55.93, almost three seconds clear of her nearest rival (but five-hundredths slower than Tasha Danvers-Smith’s winning time at the UK Challenge Final).

Debbie Rowe (Birchfield Harriers) triple jumped 13.09m (wind: +0.9) for second place, 20cm behind Nicole Whitman (USA).

 

Other GBR results included: Men’s 200m heat 1 (wind: 0.0) / 110m hurdles heat 1 (wind: +0.2): 1 Robert James (U20, Midland Counties AA) 22.79/15.06. Heat 2 (wind: +0.7): 5 Robert Henry (Enfield and Haringey) 14.92. 800m heat 1: 2 Martin Gibbons (U20, Midland Counties AA) 1:53.55; 3 Oliver Blake (U20, Midland Counties AA) 1:53.96. High jump: 9 Steven Ridgway (U20, Midland Counties AA) 1.96m; 9 Karl Robbins (U20, Midland Counties AA) 1.91m. Pole vault: 2 Andy Marsh (U17, Midland Counties AA) 4.70m; 6 Martin Vincent (Midland Counties AA) 4.20m. Long jump: 4 Oliver McNeillis (U20, Midland Counties AA) 7.20m (wind: +0.4); 5 Jamie Blundell (U20, Midland Counties AA) 6.75m (-0.1). Triple jump: 2 James Townsend (Midland Counties AA) 14.55m (wind: +0.6); 7 Jamie Blundell (U20, Midland Counties AA) 12.91m (wind: +0.6). Javelin: 9 Richard Woolley (U20, Midland Counties AA) 56.54m; 10 James Hopley (U20, Midland Counties AA) 55.48m.


Women’s 100m heat 2 (wind: -0.1): 1 Kayo Titiloye (U20, Midland Counties AA) 12.50. 200m heat 1 (wind: -0.7): 1 Emma Peters (Midland Counties AA) 25.56; 3 Justine Kinney (Midland Counties AA) 25.98. 400m hurdles heat 1: 1 Samantha Day (Midland Counties AA) 65.88. Heat 2: Justine Kinney (Midland Counties AA) 60.68; 2 Emma Peters (Midland Counties AA) 61.81. 800m heat 1: 3 Rebecca Hall (Midland Counties AA) 2:15.95. Pole vault: 2 Katherine Ogden (U17, Wessex and Bath) 3.40m; 4 Sophie Upton (U17, Wessex and Bath) 3.30m; 5 Rebecca Lilley (U20, Midland Counties AA) 3.30m.