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Heptathlon victories for Agbo and Lumley

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This summer of success for UK heptathletes took two more giant leaps forward at a combined events international for Under 23s and Juniors at Aix en Provence, France, on 4 and 5 August ... and provided a surprise boost for the country’s developing decathletes.

 

Phyllis Agbo led the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team to victory in the Under 23 Women’s competition by triumphing in the individual standings and Jenny Lumley took first place in the Junior Women’s competition.

 

Their successes demonstrate the quality developing behind the Senior Women’s squad, which Jessica Ennis led to an historic victory in the European Cup Combined Events Super League in Poland last month.

 

On a hot but windy weekend in Provence – with the competition taking place from the late afternoon into sultry darkness – the vital contribution of the decathletes was illustrated when the combined result of the Under 23 Men’s and Women’s competition was revealed at the conclusion of two long days: 1 Norwich Union GB&NI 36,476; 2 France 35,759; 3 Switzerland 34, 338. It was a totally unexpected victory as the team were without the injured Kevin Sempers, who would have led the team.

 

The Under 23 Women’s heptathlon competition ended with Norwich Union GB&NI winning with 16,445 points from France 15,714 and Switzerland 15,712.

 

Phyllis Agbo (Thames Valley Harriers) won with 5621 points, a lifetime best by 80 points that takes her to 23rd on the UK all-time senior women’s list and 13th among the country’s Under 23s. She was second in the individual standings at the end of the first day with 3306 points, only 12 short of her best ever. She opened with a 100m hurdles (wind: +0.8) personal best of 13.73 seconds, high jumped 1.61m, put the shot 11.63m and sprinted 200m (wind: 0.0) in 24.80 seconds. On the second day, she long jumped 6.02m (wind: +3.5), threw the javelin a personal best of 41.09m and ran the 800m in another PB, 2:23.91, almost three seconds quicker than ever before.

 

Overnight leader Louise Hazel (Peterborough AC) finished second with 5594 points. She led at the end of the first day with 3325 points: 100m hurdles (wind: +0.8) in 13.82 seconds, high jump 1.61m, shot 11.54m and 200m (wind: 0.0) in 24.40 seconds. On the second day, she long jumped 5.78 (+2.8), threw the javelin 39.93m and ran the 800m in 2:20.27.

 

Gemma Weetman (Oswestry Olympians) finished sixth with 5230 points. She was eighth after the opening day with 3025 points, only 48 down on her best yet: 100m hurdles (wind: +1.0) 14.48 seconds, high jump 1.58m, shot 10.56m and 200m 25.57 seconds. On the second day, she long jumped 5.72m (+0.7), threw the javelin 33.18m, a PB by two and a half metres, and clocked another PB, 2:14.31 in the 800m

 

In the Junior Women’s competition, Norwich Union GB&NI finished third with 14,601 points behind France 14,861 and Switzerland 14,835.

 

Jenny Lumley (Leeds AC) won the individual competition with 5111 points in much the same dominant manner in which her fellow Yorkshirewoman, Ennis, had triumphed in the European Cup Super League. Lumley led after the first day with 3112 points: 100m hurdles (wind: +0.2) in 15.38 seconds, high jump 1.79m a lifetime best by 4cm, shot 10.11m and 200m in 25.78 seconds. On the second day, she long jumped 5.55m (wind: +0.5), threw the javelin 34.92m and covered 800m in 2:28.31.

 

Caryl Granville (Carmarthen Harriers) finished eighth with 4766 points. She was seventh after the opening day with 2858 points, only nine fewer than her best ever. She opened with a 100m hurdles lifetime best of 14.74 seconds (wind: +0.2), high jumped 1.58m, put the shot 8.60m and sprinted 200m in 25.61 seconds. On the second day, she long jumped 5.43m (wind: -0.2), threw the javelin 26.04m and ran 800m in 2:19.81.

 

Eleanor Markendale (Pendle AC) was ninth with 4724 points. She finished the first day in eighth place with 2823 points, only six down on her best yet, after opening with two lifetime best performances: 15.35 seconds in the 100m hurdles (wind: +0.3) and 1.64m high jump. She then put the shot 8.59m and sprinted 200m in 25.90 seconds into a 0.5 metres per second head wind. On the second day, she long jumped 5.64m (wind: 0.0), threw the javelin 24.69m and ran 800m in 2:22.92.

 

Sophie Skinner (Exeter Harriers) finished tenth with 4559 points. She was 11th after the opening day with 2706 points, 88 down on her best so far: 100m hurdles (wind: +0.3) 15.10 seconds, high jump 1.55m, shot 8.31m and 200m 26.18 seconds. On the second day, she long jumped 5.31m (wind: +1.2), threw the javelin 31.52m and ran 800m in 2:29.20.

 

In the Under 23 Men’s decathlon, Norwich Union GB&NI were second with 20,031 points despite the costly absence of Sempers. France won with 20,045 and Switzerland were third with 18,826.

 

Ricardo Beckford (London Heathside) was third with lifetime best of 6760 points in his first year in the age group. He opened with a 100m PB of 10.92 seconds (wind: -0.8), long jumped 6.66m (wind: +0.7), put the shot 9.98m, high jumped 1.84m and ran the 400m in 49.26 seconds. It placed him third in the individual standings at the halfway point with 3606 points, only 13 shy of his best yet. On the second day, he covered the 110m hurdles (wind: -1.2) in 14.97, threw the discus a PB of 33.52m, pole vaulted 4.00m, threw the javelin 40.61m and ran the 1500m in 4:37.08.

 

Adam Akehurst (City of Portsmouth) finished fourth with 6703 points. He was seventh at the end of the first day with 3544 points: 100m (wind: -0.4) in 11.60, long jump (+0.3) 6.81m, shot 12.63m, high jump 1.81m and 400m a personal best of 51.16 seconds. On the second day, he covered the 110m hurdles (wind: -2.2) in a lifetime best of 15.46 seconds, threw the discus 33.26m, pole vaulted 3.90m, threw the javelin 56.23m and covered the 1500m in 4:59.26.

 

Patrick Halcrow (Thurrock Harriers) was sixth with 6568 points. He enjoyed three personal bests on the opening day – 11.38 seconds in the 100m despite a head wind of 0.9 metres per second, shot put of 14.55m to add 59cm to his previous best and 400m in 52.88 seconds. He also long jumped 6.31m (wind: +0.3) and high jumped 1.87m to finish the first day in fourth place with 3569 points, within 30 of his best yet. On the second day, he covered the 110m hurdles (wind: -1.2) in another PB, 14.83 seconds, threw the discus 38.90m, pole vaulted 4.00m, threw the javelin 37.09m and lowered his 1500m PB to 5:16.17.

 

Richard Reeks (Bournemouth AC) was eighth with 6546 points. His first day efforts earned 3622 points, within 33 of his best yet, and placed him second in the individual standings. Reeks opened with 100 metres (wind: -0.4 metres per second) in 11.38 seconds, long jumped 6.66m (wind: -0.2), put the shot a lifetime best of 10.86m, won the high jump with a 1.99m clearance and ran the 400m in 50.79 seconds. On the second day, he covered the 110m hurdles in 15.90 seconds despite a head win of 2.2 metres per second, threw the discus 33.61m, pole vaulted 3.90m, threw the javelin 42.57m and covered the 1500m in 4:57.41.

 

In the Junior Men’s decathlon, Norwich Union GB&NI placed last with 17,875 points behind France 19,277 and Switzerland 18,374.

 

Guy Stroud (Exeter Harriers) finished in fourth with 6954, a PB by 141 points. It places him fourth in the UK Junior Men’s all-time rankings. He was fourth after a slightly more adventurous first day than usual with 3655 points, within a handful of his best ever. Because there was no electronic timing in his 100m heat – in which official timekeepers had him at 10.98 seconds – a rerun was scheduled and he clocked 11.20 seconds, which will go down as his official lifetime best despite a head wind of 0.9 metres per second. Then he fell foul of the swirling wind that made run-up judgement nigh impossible in the long jump. More than half of the attempts throughout the day were no-jumps and another 25 per cent took off from behind the board. Stroud registered two no-jumps before backing off with his final attempt and reaching a modest 6.31m (wind officially measured at a mocking 0.0), as he made sure he stayed in the competition. Then he put the shot 14.12m, high jumped 1.81m and ran 400m in 50.08 seconds. On the second day, he covered the 110m hurdles (wind: -2.6) in 15.27, threw the discus a PB of 40.03m, pole vaulted 4.00m and then snapped the pole attempting to equal his PB of 4.10m, threw the javelin 50.14m and ran the 1500m in 4:49.62.

 

Matthew George (Vale of Aylesbury) was eighth with 6446 points. He placed 11th on the opening day with 3218 points: 100m (wind: +0.5) in a legal personal best of 11.69 seconds, long jump (wind: 0.0) 6.10m, shot 13.63m, high jump 1.63m and 400m 52.50 seconds. On the second day, he covered the 110m hurdles (wind: -2.0) in 15.57 seconds, threw the discus 38.06m, improved his pole vault PB to 3.70m, threw the javelin 53.19m and ran the 1500m in 4:44.82.

 

Joe Lancaster (Sale Harriers Manchester) was tenth with 6274 points. He ended the opening day eighth with 3366 points after a 100m (wind: -0.9) in 11.81 seconds, long jump (0.0) 6.58m, shot a personal best of 12.06m, high jump 1.90m and 400m in 54.17 seconds. On the second day, he covered the 110m hurdles (wind: -2.6) in 15.81 seconds, threw the discus 34.57m, pole vaulted 3.80m, threw the javelin 44.88m and covered the 1500m in 5:05.64.

 

Robert Kite (Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC) was eleventh with 6115 points. He ended the first day 12th with 3153 points: 100m (wind: +0.5) 11.79 seconds, long jump (wind: 0.0) 6.32m, shot 12.73m, high jump 1.72m and 400m 55.17. On the second day, he covered the 110m hurdles (wind: -2.0) in 15.92 seconds, threw the discus 38.94m, pole vaulted 3.50m, threw the javelin 45.64m and covered the 1500m in 4:57.81.