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Sedykh spreads hammer class

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Andy Frost: lessons from a legend.

UK Athletics’ determination to raise standards in every event in every age group in every region on the way to London 2012 led many of the country’s most promising hammer throwers and their personal coaches to Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium for a weekend master class from world record holder Yuriy Sedykh.

 

“In my experience, it’s the biggest thing we have ever done for hammer throwing in Great Britain,” said former Commonwealth champion Lorraine Shaw, who is now UK Lead Coach for the event.

 

She invited what she describes as “my Gold, Silver and Bronze squads” – and every thrower had a one-to-one technical session with ‘the master’.

 

In the Gold squad are Andy Frost (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies), the current UK No.1 with a best of 72.62m; Alex Smith (Sale Harriers Manchester), the current UK No.1 Under 20 with a best of 64.89m; his bother Peter (Hull Achilles), the reigning AAA Under 17 Champion and UK Throws Challenge winner last summer; Amir Williamson (who moved from Blackheath and Bromley to Newham and Essex Beagles at the end of last summer), the current UK No.2 Under 20 with a best of 60.86; English Schools silver medallist James Bedford (Kingston upon Hull AC); Carys Parry (Rhondda), the former Welsh record holder with a best of 62.60m; Welsh Champion Zoe Derham (Birchfield Harriers), who has a best of 65.85m; Susan McKelvie (Edinburgh Southern Harriers), the AAA Under 23 champion; Blackheath and Bromley duo Rachael Blackie and Victoria Thomas, who were among the UK’s top three Under 20s last summer; and Hayley Murray (Nuneaton Harriers), the reigning AAA Under 17 champion who moves into the Under 20s this season.

 

“They are the best of the crop that I think we can develop towards global championships,” Shaw explained. “This is the second weekend they have spent with Yuriy and this time we also brought in the Silver and Bronze squads – the most promising Under 23s, Under 20s, Under 17s and Under 15s – to put them on the right track. We need to nurture and mentor them in the right mode.”

 

Attendees from the Silver squad were Scottish Closed and Under 20 champion Mark Dry (Elgin AAC), Micki Finn (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC), Rachel Gair (Mansfield Harriers), Mike Jennings (Kingston upon Hull) and Alistair Williamson (Blackheath and Bromley). Members of the Bronze squad who took part were South of England Under 17 champion Richard Al-Ameen (Blackheath and Bromley), UK School Games champion Chris Bennett (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers), AAA Under 15 champion Helen Broadbridge (Newbury AC), Victoria Johnson (Liverpool Harriers), AAA Under 15 champion Andrew Jordon (Blackheath and Bromley), UK School Games champion Charlotte Murray (Swansea Harriers) and Sadie Watts (Marshall Milton Keynes AC).

 

Shaw added: “Yuriy got to see every one of them throw and pass comments to them and their coaches. It was a brilliant opportunity for our most promising hammer throwers to have input from the world’s best. Now they want more of it.

 

“We also had ‘Fuzz’ Ahmed [coach to Welsh high jump record holder Julie Crane] to get the throwers working on fundamental movement skills because hammer throwing is not just about lifting heavy weights. It’s mostly about learning the right technique.

 

“What we’re doing is all about stepping stones. I find there is a massive area between the regional squads and the national squad. We are nurturing coaches as well as the athletes and I am encouraged by the feedback. We are sharing more ideas, which is good because we have to accept that we are behind in the world and we need to be pushing forward.”