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Multi successes for Norwich Union GB

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The Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team performed so superbly at the Under 23 and Under 20 Combined Events International in Berne, Switzerland, on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 July that Louise Hazel beat the UK Athletics Development Entry Standard for the European Championships while Daniel Awde and Dominique Blaize reached the qualifying standards for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Beijing.

 

All eight of the Norwich Union GB Women’s Team and four of the Men accumulated lifetime best points totals on a weekend that left Team Leader Ian Grant wondering if he was in a fantasy world only a fortnight after the Seniors put in brilliant performances at the European Cup of Combined Events.

 

He said as he reflected on two joyous days: “At the time I thought I was dreaming and I still think I’m dreaming but the reality is that it has all happened. We had 12 points PBs and many individual event PBs, The Women ran away with their competitions. The Men are becoming increasingly competitive.

 

“It’s definitely the best result I have seen at age group level. And what made it more satisfying was their phenomenal support for each other and in particular for those who were going for Championships qualifying standards.

“They were a true team in every sense of the word. And the coaches played their full part; the work they have put in has been tremendous.”

 

Here is how the successes built up…

 

U23 Women’s match result: 1 Norwich Union GB 16,858 points; 2 France 16,281; 3 Switzerland 15,765.

 

Louise Hazel (Peterborough AC) held her nerve and kept her form to complete a brilliant individual victory with her best yet points total, 5887, which exceeds the UKA Development Entry Standard for the European Championships heptathlon.

 

Only a fortnight after scoring a lifetime heptathlon best to help the Norwich Union GB Senior Women to their best-ever position, fourth, in the European Cup of Combined Events Super League in Arles, France, Hazel scored 3437 points in her first four events, only 17 points down on her brilliant first day in Arles and 34 points off the UKA Development Standard for Gothenburg. She opened with a 100m hurdles (wind: +0.5 metres per second) in 13.66 seconds, high jumped 1.66m, achieved a personal best of 11.71m in the shot and sprinted 200m (wind: +1.6) in 24.20 seconds.

 

On the second day, she reeled off three PBs to beat the entry standard in style. Her 6.33m long jump, aided by a modest breeze of +0.3 metres per second, was 20cm further than her previous best. She added a PB of 39.49m in the javelin. And she ended the most memorable weekend of her young athletics life by dipping under 2:20 for 800m for the first time. Her new PB: 2:18.87. Her points total places her 11th in the UK Senior Women’s all-time rankings and fifth on the all-time Under 23 list. And she is still an Under 23 next year!

 

Phyllis Agbo (Thames Valley Harriers), who also contributed a personal best to the Cup success in Arles, improved her points PB by 158 to 5541 to finish third in the individual heptathlon.

 

She earned 3318 points on the first day, eight points up on her legal best in Arles: 100m hurdles (+0.5) in 13.09; high jump 1.66m, within 1cm of her best; 12.12m shot; 25.11 seconds 200m (+1.6).

 

On the second day, she long jumped a PB of 6.15m (wind: +0.8); threw the javelin 39.06m; and finished with an 800m PB of 2:31.18. It places her 30th in the UK Senior Women’s all-time heptathlon rankings and 20th among Under 23s.

 

Katia Lannon (Sale Harriers Manchester) finished sixth, increasing her PB to 5430 points. This makes her the 37th best-ever UK Senior Woman and places her 22nd in the Under 23 rankings.

 

She scored 3243 yesterday, her best first day by 311 points: a 100m hurdles PB of 14.39 seconds (wind: +0.7); high jumped a relatively disappointing 1.66m; bounced back with another PB in the shot, 12.29m; and went on to sprint the 200m in a legal PB of 25.60 seconds despite a head wind measuring -1.2 m/s.

 

Today, she long jumped a PB of 5.76m (wind: -0.9); threw the javelin 33.53m; and ran 800m in 2:16.91.

 

Catherine Holdsworth (Colchester Harriers) completed the team effort by finishing 10th with 5138 points, another PB.

The first day yielded 3091 points, only 34 shy of her best yet: a 14.18 seconds 200m (+0.7), 1.60m high jump, 11.18m shot and 26.02 seconds 200m (-1.2).

 

On the second day, she long jumped 5.78m (wind: -0.3), threw the javelin a PB of 34.07; and ran 800m in 2:28.61.

Under 20 Women’s match result: 1 Norwich Union GB 15,505; 2 Switzerland 14,187; 3 France 13,862.

 

Dominique Blaize (Kingston and Poly AC) won the individual heptathlon with 5405 points – and PB, almost inevitably, and an invaluable 5 points over the entry standard for the IAAF World Junior Championships to be staged in Beijing next month.

She had been the individual first day leader with 3424 points, a PB by 162: a 200m PB of 14.14 seconds (wind: +1.5); 1.72m high jump; 12.34m shot PB; and a magnificent 200m into a 2.5 metres per second head wind, clocking 24.84 seconds, a PB by 0.35sec.

 

On the second day, she continued in the same high quality form: a 6.00m long jump (wind: +1.3); 33.16m PB javelin throw; and 2:38.20 PB 800m run. It puts her eighth on the UK Junior all-time list.

 

Gemma Weetman (Oswestry Olympians) finished third with 5299 points, up from her previous highest of 4992, which takes her to 14th on the UK Junior Women’s all-time list.

 

She was second at the halfway stage with 3073 points, a PB first day by 216: a 100m hurdles PB of 14.46 seconds (wind: +0.5), high jump PB of 1.66m; shot PB of 9.85m; and 200m in 25.59 seconds, not a PB but, although no mitigation is needed, the wind had blown up to -2.5 metres per second.

 

On the second day, she long jumped 6.11m (wind: +1.7); threw the javelin 30.12m; and reduced her 800m PB to 2:17.08 from 2:20.76.

 

Amy Hill (Sheffield AC) finished fourth with 4801 points.

 

She was third after the first day with 3058, a PB by 99 points. She clocked a 100m hurdles PB of 14.72 (+0.5), high jumped 1.54m, put the shot a PB 12.78m and was only three-hundredths of a second outside her 200m PB, clocking 25.97 seconds into a head wind officially measured at –3.7 metres per second.

 

On the second day, she long jumped a PB of 5.21m (wind: +1.1); had “a bit of a disaster” in the javelin, reaching only 22.42m; and bounced back with another PB, 2:22.37, in the 800m. She has two more years as a Junior.

 

Jenny Lumley (Leeds City AC) marked her international debut by taking fifth place with 4779 points, a PB by 177.

 

She was fifth overnight after scoring 2960 points, her best yet first day by 77 points. She made a nerveless first appearance in a Norwich Union GB vest, sprinting 100m hurdles in 15.31 seconds, within two-hundredths of a second of her best, aided by a gentle breeze of +0.5; high jumped 1.72m; put the shot 9.87m; and sprinted 200m in 26.44 seconds into a head wind of -3.7.

On the second day, she long jumped 5.30m (wind: +1.5); threw the javelin 32.98m; and finished with an 800m PB in 2:34.03.

Under 20 Men’s match result: 1 Germany 22,234; 2 Switzerland 21,484; 3 Norwich Union GB 21,013; 4 France 20,260.

 

Daniel Awde (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) produced an outstanding series of decathlon performances to score 7382 points, hammering the qualifying standard of 7200 for Beijing and consigning to history his previous best, 7009, with which he won the AAA title only a few weeks ago.

 

It stands as a UK Best performance with the implements used this weekend, though Daley Thompson, David Bigham and Dean Macey all scored more with the heavier Senior implements on their illustrious marches through their late teens.

 

On Saturday, Awde scored 3979 points, an improvement of 384 on his previous most productive first day, with the help of some astounding bests. He started with a 100m (wind: +0.2) in 10.95 seconds, a massive improvement on his 11.57 at the AAAs. Then he improved his long jump PB to 7.21m from 6.88m with the aid of a freshening but modest wind speed +1.4. After a shot put of 11.77m, his high jump PB leapt to 1.92m from 1.87. And he closed his day’s efforts by storming round the 400m in 47.77 seconds, continuing an amazing progression from 49.05 at the AAA Combined Events Championships and a hand-timed 48.4 at an English Schools qualifying meet.

 

On the second day, he covered the 110m hurdles (into a head wind, -1.2) in a PB of 14.70 seconds; threw the discus 30.79m; pole vaulted 4.50m; threw the javelin a PB 47.35m; and ran 1500m in 4:32.62. It earned him third place behind a Germany duo who are both a year older, Jonas Brix (7534) and Steffen Kahlert (7414).

 

Ricardo Beckford (London Heathside AC) finished 10th with a PB of 6817 points, up from 6583.

 

He was 10th after the first day with 3576, a PB by 126: 100m (wind: +1.4) 11.26; long jump 6.83 (+1.7); shot put 10.88m, high jump 1.83m; 400m 50.18.

 

On the second day, he achieved a 110m hurdles PB of 15.17 (wind: +0.9); threw the discus 35.64m, another PB; pole vaulted 3.90 to equal his PB; threw the javelin 44.29m, yet another PB; and ran the 1500m in 4:30.65 – guess what – a PB by 8.09 seconds.

 

Guy Stroud (Exeter Harriers) finished 11th with a PB score of 6814 points.

 

He was eighth after the first day with 3662, a PB by 159 points: 100m (wind: +0.4) 11.42; long jump 6.75m (wind: -0.2); shot a PB 13.18m; high jump 1.80m; 400m 49.60 seconds, only one-hundredth in excess of his best.

 

On the second day, he sprinted the 110m hurdles in 15.24 (wind: -0.4); threw the discus 36.83m; pole vaulted 3.70m; threw the javelin 51.28m, a PB; and ran 1500m in 4:55.32.

 

Neil Crossley (Cheltenham and County Harriers) was 12th with 6712 points, only 14 short of his best.

 

He was 14th on his international debut after the first day with 3362 points, within 125 of his best: 100m (wind: +0.6) 11.78; long jump 6.31m (wind: +0.9); shot put 13.38m; high jump a PB of 1.80m; and 400m in 52.68.

 

On the second day, he sprinted the 110m hurdles in 15.28 seconds (wind: -0.4); threw the discus 32.18m; pole vaulted 3.80m, a PB; massively increased his javelin PB to 60.98m from 56.80m; and ran 1500m in 4:35.18.

 

Under 23 Men’s match result: 1 France 22,203; 2 Norwich Union GB 21,805; 3 Switzerland 20,225.

 

Ben Hazell (Basingstoke and Mid Hants) was second with 7554 to take him to 25th on the UK all-time Senior Men’s rankings and 12th among the Under 23s. Damine Beauvir (France) won with 7683.

 

Hazell had placed fourth after the first day with 3788 points, seven up on his previous best: 100m (+0.8) 11.19; long jump 6.87m (+0.7); shot 13.25m; high jump 1.83m and a sparkling 400m in 49.21.

 

On the second day, he moved up with a 110m hurdles outdoor PB of 15.18 seconds (wind: +0.5); a discus PB of 43.26m; a pole vault of 4.30m, equalling his PB; a javelin throw of 60.80m; and 1500m in 4:28.38.

 

Ed Dunford (Birchfield Harriers), the only member of the quartet not in the Norwich Union GB Senior Men Team that retained its status in the European Cup of Combined Events First League, took fourth place in the decathlon with 7167 points, only eight short of his best.

 

He placed third in the individual competition after the opening day with 3797 points, an encouraging improvement on his AAAs form: 100m (wind: +0.8) 11.34; long jump 7.02 (0.0); shot put 14.64m; high jump 1.89m; 400m 52.10.

 

On the second day, he sprinted the 110m hurdles in 14.99 seconds (wind: +0.2), threw the discus 41.60m, pole vaulted 4.00m, threw the javelin 54.40m; and ran 1500m in 5:01.57.

 

Kevin Sempers (Belgrave Harriers) finished fifth with 7084 points.

 

He placed fifth after the first day with 3770, only 28 points below his best first day score. He opened with a 100m legal PB of 11.10 seconds (wind: +0.7); long jumped 6.80m; put the shot 11.99m; high jumped 1.98m; and ran 400m in 50.90 seconds.

On the second day, he sprinted the 110m hurdles in 14.79 seconds (wind: +0.2); threw the discus 37.55m, a PB; pole vaulted 4.00m; threw the javelin 54.41m; and ran 1500m in 5:01.39.

 

Dean Showler-Davis (Winchester and District) was sixth with 6992 points.

 

He placed sixth after the first day with 3758 points, 55 down on his best. His 100m (wind: +0.7) was a legal PB of 10.76 seconds; long jump 6.98m (wind: +2.1); shot 11.32m; high jump 1.83m; and 400m 49.97 seconds.

 

He opened the second day with a 110m hurdles PB in 15.28 seconds (wind: +0.5); threw the discus 31.93m; pole vaulted 3.90m, another PB; threw the javelin 51.15m; and covered the 1500m in 4:33.95.

 

The last words go to Team Leader Grant: “What makes it even more exciting is that 10 of these 16 athletes are in the same age groups next year.”