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UK School Games 2008 – Day 2

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31st August 2008

 

Contrasting fortunes in the weather on day two of the UK School Games in Bath. This ancient city was shrouded by a mist this morning that seemed all too reminiscent of that which enveloped Beijing during the recent Olympic Games. The mist, however ironic would allow today’s talent to shine out the clearer amongst the grey and gloom. Then the rain came down, making sure that any would be champion would have not only their fellow competitors, but the elements to contend with.

 

Finals would come thick and fast on day two, and the weather didn’t seem to keep the supporters away, eager to catch a glimpse of future potential.

 

The first final of the day was the 300m hurdles final, won by Megan Rogers of Wales, with a PB of 43.09, with second place going to Christine McMohan (Northern Ireland) with a PB of 43.23, with Lizzy Wessely (South West) third with a time of 43.25, which was also a PB. Hurdles in the fog were not the most ideal of conditions to be running in, but the performances of the competing athletes was commendable in such conditions.

 

Earlier in the day, President of the UK School Games and former Sports Minister, Richard Caborn spoke about his own sporting endeavors, running the Great North Run on the eve of his 65th birthday, as well as reflecting on his envy of young athletes today with the opportunity the UK School Games provided them.

 

“Athletics is an important basis for competing at any sport. The UK School Games was borne from funds from the Millennium Commission, as we thought that it was important to develop a multi sports championship that gave young people an experience of what it was like to compete at a multi sports games. Too often you see young people competing at an Olympic or Commonwealth Games without that experience. One of the things we were keen to replicate was the experience of the village, where people come together and learn and develop.”

 

On where his support lied this weekend, Caborn replied “Yorkshire, through and through!”

 

It was the women’s turn at the hammer cage today, won by Helen Broadbridge (South East), who will be going to the Commonwealth Youth Games in India with the knowledge of being the best in the UK. Her throw of 46.22m enough to win her gold. Second went to Gaby McNally (Northern Ireland) 45.96m, third was Kayleigh Mills (North East) with a throw of 44.56m.

 

After her win, Helen said; “I really thought I was going to come fourth, but it was amazing to win. I’m ecstatic to have thrown 46 because towards the end of the season my results have been tailing off a bit.

 

I was hoping to throw 44 as I thought that would give me a good chance of a medal and I think its really because other people didn’t throw as well as they could have and fortunately I did.

 

It’s my 3rd longest throw ever, and considering the conditions it was great. Everyone was having a lot of trouble during their throws, but I always think that you only ever fall over if you psych yourself out and think that it’s more slippery. I try and forget about that.

 

Unless something terrible happens I’d really like to come back and defend my title.”

 

Pole vaulting is never much fun in the rain, but it was Edward Quiney of the South East who vaulted highest, clearing the bar at 4.35m (on countback). Next was Gregor McClean (Scotland), 4.35m, with third place going to Tim Parkin (North East), 4.25m

 

Back to the track and it was London’s Olu Oyewobi who came clear of the rest of the field the men’s 400m hurdles final, 55.13, over a second clear of his nearest rival, the North West’s Sid Srinivas, 56.25, with third place going Josh Green of Yorkshire and Humberside, 56.39.

 

Then came the sprint finals – the 100m women’s was won impressively by Hannah Thomas of Wales, 12.11. Second came Lauretta Curtis of the East Midlands, 12.26 and Megan Hoult of Yorkshire and Humberside, third with a time of 12.40. This was followed by the men’s final, which was a close run affair, won by Deji Tobias (East), in a new games record of 10.68. William Ife (London) came second in a time of 10.71, with third going to Thomas Colmans (Wales) 11.06. The awards were presented by Jason Gardener, 4 x 100 Gold Medalist from the Olympic Games of 2004

 

The women’s long jumpers were jumping into wet sand at this point after the rain that was deposited over the University of Bath Athletics Stadium, even though it rain had cleared. East region’s Aleasha Kiddle jumped furthest with a distance of 5.81m. Scotland’s Laurie McKenna was second, 5.48m, with Ashleigh Wood (North East) was third, 5.40m.

 

The men’s shot put top prize was claimed by Michael Wheeler (South East), with a best throw of 18.86m, second was Anthony Oshodi (East) 18.06m and third was  Reece Thomas (West Midlands) 17.53m.

 

Wheeler said “I’m very happy with the result, getting a UK School Games record as well. I think I could have thrown further; I threw almost as far with my standing throw as I did with my glide. On another day, with a drier circle and different conditions I’m sure I could have gone 20, because I’ve done it in training.

 

It’s really good atmosphere here at the University of Bath and it’s a very strong field, everyone from the top of the rankings putting me under a lot of pressure but kept my cool and did what I had to do.”

 

Both the wheelchair women’s and men’s 100m finals took centre stage mid morning. Hannah Cockcroft (Yorkshire and Humberside) came home victorious with a time of 20.59, followed by Colette Martin (Scotland), 21.37, and third was Rebecca Harding (London) 22.52. In the men’s event, Daniel Lucker of Wales was fastest across the line in a time of 17.30, with Jonathan Smith (South East) second, 19.50 and Matthew Hickling (Yorkshire and Humberside) third, 22.16.

 

Lucker was understandably ecstatic with his gold, saying; “This is a brilliant end to the season, to end it with a gold medal, you can’t go wrong.

 

The weather made the track a little wet which slowed me down a little but I thought the time was really respectable considering, so I’m happy.

 

My form has been great all season and hopefully that will carry on through too next season.”

 

The women’s discus was won in some style by Brea Leung (Wales), with a distance thrown of 39.05m. Second place was Julia Walkden (South West), throwing the discus 37.55m, with third going to East Midlands Charlotte Gair, 36.22m.

Shaunna Thompson lived up to her billing as a one to watch at the UK School Games, streets ahead of the rest of the field in the women’s 200m final for the North West, coming home in a PB of 23.42. Second was Jennie Batten (South West), 24.38, also in a PB, with Emma Jackson (Yorkshire and Humberside) third, 24.40.

 

Thompson commented on her performance “It was amazing, I ran really well but I could still improve. I still have points to work on, like on the straight I lacked a bit of strength and I know I can improve my bend.

 

I ran a PB and to run it at the UKSG was absolutely amazing. I ran last year and came 2nd in the 100m to Ashlee Nelson (City of Stoke) but now I know that the 200m is my strongest event.

 

This year I came here and knew that I could do it because I’ve been working hard all season on my 200m. Running so well at the end of the season is going to motivate me to get my head down and work hard over the winter and to come back stronger and faster for next season.”

 

Middle distance came to the track before lunch, with the 1,500m men’s final. Harry Ellis (North West) was the winner in a thrilling and tactical final, 3:59.09. Second was Dale Clutterbuck (East), 3:59.83 and third was Jonathan Hopkins of Wales, 3:59.91.

 

In the women’s 80m hurdles final, Kirsty Warland (South East) was the champion with a time of 11.37, she was closely followed in by Georgia Atkins (East) 11.45 and third was claimed by Chanel Taite (London), 11.64.

 

If it wasn’t going to be much fun for the pole vaulters in deludge, the women high jumpers wouldn’t have enjoyed landing on a wet high jump bed either, but Katarina Thompson (North West) cleared 1.78m for a well deserved first place. Second was Hannah Firth (East), clearing a PB height of 1.75m, with third going to Marilyn Nwawulor (London), 1.72m.

 

Thompson clearly enjoyed the support she received from the crowd, saying; “I enjoyed the atmosphere when I was on my own. I’m usually really nervous to start off a clap in case no-one joins in, but luckily the crowd started it off for me and that’s what I’m most happy about even though I didn’t get the final height.

 

The women’s 3,000m was another thrilling final over the distance, with Laura Park of the North West taking the gold medal in a time of 9:39.22. Silver went to Beth Carter (South East) in a time of 9:39.52. Bronze went to Hannah Alderson of the South West in a time of 10:13.78.

 

Park spoke about her performance, saying; “I’m really happy, I haven’t been on form recently; I’ve been suffering from sinusitis among others, so it’s great to run a PB.

 

I’ve improved from last year, where I came fifth and ran a poor time. I decided to run it from the front and took it from the start and I was lucky enough that it worked today.

 

There was really only one athlete who was going to challenge me if I ran to my best and thankfully I did.”

 

The battle for gold in the men’s 100m hurdles final was won by West Midlands Alex Nwenwu, 13.17, with Themba Luhana (East Midlands) finishing second, 13.30. Third place was claimed by Bertie Lewis (South East), 13.56.

 

Action then moved onto the men’s 400m final, where Curtis Woods (Northern Ireland) finished fastest, 48.07, second was Nathan Wake (East), 48.39, with third place going to Dan Putnam (London), 48.55. The women’s equivalent 300m final was won by Joanna Mills (Northern Ireland), 39.25, with Amy Allcock (South East) second, 39.65, and third was London’s Victoria Ohurougu, 39.91.

 

Ohurougu was optimistic for the future after her third place; I’ve never done this competition before and it’s a big step up in class, but I’m hoping I can come back and improve for next year.

 

These are the people that I’m going to be competing with for the next few years; I suppose it’s good that their beating me because it gives me something to aim for and motivates me to work hard during the winter.

 

I’ve been really inspired by sister to go and I try and join her on the international stage and at 2012. The site for the Olympics is about 10 minutes walk from my house so its something that keeps me working hard and motivates me for the future.”

 

Men’s ambulant discus thrower Sean Clare (North West) claimed the gold medal, with a throw of 19.45m, Jonathan Adams (East) second, with a distance thrown of 27.42m. Third place went to Joshua Clark (Wales), throwing the discus 20.61m.

 

The women’s 800m final was won by Benytta Doman (Wales), 2:09.95 in a close final, ahead of Oriel Hardman (North West), 2:10.03 and Rowena Cole (West Midlands) in third, 2:10.23.

 

The women’s ambulant 200m final was won by Georgette Mullen (West Midlands) in a time of 36.8secs. Louise Bashford came second with her time of 31.2secs, with Natasha Mead (South West) with her time of 32.1secs.

 

The victorious hop, skip and jump came from Babatunde Amosu (South East), 15.22m. Second was James Mclachlan with a distance of 13.83m, with third going to London’s Julien Allwood, 13.77m.

 

The men’s 200m final was won by Rhion Samuel (London) with a time of 22.15, followed by Charlie Moss (East), with a time of 22.42 and Josh Crawford (Scotland) third with a time of 22.54.

 

Back on track for the ambulant 200m men’s final, which saw the North East claim their first gold of the games, won by Jordan Keenen with a time of 28.13, and by the reaction this got, it seemed like this was worth all other medals won at these championships put together. Second place was won by Josh Goodfellow (East Midlands), 33.52 with the bronze medal going to Wales, with James Ledger, 27.26.

 

With the women’s 800m final complete, it was the turn of the men, with Rikkie Letch (South East) 1:56.43, beating Adam Cotton (West Midlands) 1:56.69 to the gold medal. Third place was taken by Thomas Atkinson (Yorkshire and Humberside), 1:57.05.

 

The challenge of the 1,500m steeplechase faced competitors, but it was the East Region’s James Senior who came home first in a time of 4:25.08.  Second was Jamie Crompton (North West) with a time 4:26.45, third was Charlie Maclean (South West), 4:27.32.

 

In the women’s seated discus, Georgina Oliver (Yorkshire and Humberside) was the gold medallist, her throw of 9.45m was enough to beat Claire Walker (North East) into second place, 9.02m and Marie Devlin was third, 7.08m.

 

The men’s seated discus was won by Wales’s Ieuan Coombes, with a best throw of 9.90m, second place went to Richard Yuille of the North East, 13.25m  

 

The final field event was the men’s javelin, which was impressively won by Matti Mortimore (East) with a best throw of 58.96m, second was Harry Hollis (East Midlands), 58.07m and Yorkshire and Humberside’s Michael Stanton, 57.92, was third.

 

The women’s 1,500m final crown was claimed by Ciara Mageean (Northern Ireland) with a time of 4:21.2, with second going to Rebecca Craigie (North West), 4:23.2. Third place was claimed by Scotland’s Beth Potter, in a time of 4:27.1

 

The weekend’s athletics action was rounded up by the men’s and women’s relay finals. The women’s 4X100m was won by the home team, South West, in a time of 47.72, second was Wales in a time of 48.15, with the North West marginally behind, 48.20.

 

London were emphatic winners of the 4 x 100m relay event, with a time of 42.42, and some impeccable baton changing. Second place was Wales with a time of 43.09, with the South West a second behind.

 

The 4 x 300m relay final was won by the South East, 2:40.97, with Wales coming in second in a time of 2:43.05. Third place was claimed by the South West, in a time of 2:44.01.

 

The final medals to be decided was the 4 x 400m, which was won by Scotland in a time of 3:19.75, second was London, with a time of 3:20.03, third was the East Midlands, 3.20.03.

 

After 45 events, and the points scores were totaled up, the South East were top of the tree with a combined total score of 368pts, second was Wales with 323pts, with the East region was third 299pts.

 

So the UK School Games came to a close, with eyes turning toward Wales as the hosts for the 2009. This weekend’s event was a true testament to youthful enthusiasm for sport and the experience of life time for all involved. If the Commonwealth Games are known as the "friendly" games, and the Olympics as the greatest sporting show on earth, then the UK School Games are the games for those who dream, and for those who wish to seize a opportunity that comes their way.

 

A unique opportunity to shine, a unique opportunity to learn and a unique opportunity to enjoy sport, in a great atmosphere and amongst great team spirit.

 

For full results of Day two at the UK School Games click here