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Jodie Williams - Loughborough 2010

23 May 2010

Jodie Williams (coach: Mike McFarlane) and Holly Bleasdale (coach: Julien Raffalli-Ebezant) recorded the two exceptional Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland junior team performances of the day at the McCain Loughborough International (Sunday 23 May).

Williams, the 2009 World Youth champion, clocked 22.79 for GB Juniors 200m victory and an exceptional World Juniors qualifying mark, quick enough to rank her fastest ever European (under-17) and top of the current IAAF World Junior rankings. In fact, within the youth age group, only four in the world have ever run quicker.

"Even competing at the World Juniors is a step up for me," said Williams, who was quick to dismiss any possibility of the European Championships this summer, in spite of going well inside the 23.00s mark UKA standard for Barcelona. “I don’t want to do anything senior too soon, although hopefully I will in the near future. If I was going to do any senior championships this year it would be the Commonwealth Games, but my target for this year is the World Juniors 100m and 200m, and after doing that double at the World Youths last year I know I was shattered and needed time off. My coach Mike McFarlane has always been supportive of me competing within my age group and he’s had the experience as an athlete to know that’s the right thing for me. Come London 2012, I’d be delighted just to be part of the relay squad.”

Blackburn’s Holly Bleasdale, who was devastated to miss out on last year’s European Junior Championships due to injury, achieved a new UK junior pole vault record of 4.25m - exceeding the UKA qualifying standard for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Canada this summer by 15cm (4.10m) - and is likely to be joined by training partner Sally Scott (coach: Steve Rippon), who also impressed in today’s competition with a World Juniors standard and outdoor PB of 4.10m.

“I’ve been clearing up to 4.30m in training so I knew I had it in me,” said Bleasdale, who took the overall victory on count back. "I think it’s been partly psychological that I’ve not been replicating those jumps in competition until today. I had to picture my training situation - I’ve got a really strong group and I enjoy training with them - and I visualised that, and the foam bar we’ve been using, and it worked.”

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet that I’ve got the British junior record,” she continued, “but I’m sure it’ll sink in when I get home!”

Although not with the Aviva GB & NI team on this occasion, Liverpool Harriers’ Jack Meredith (coach: Donald Moss), the 2009 World Youth silver medallist, raced to victory and a new UK under-20 record of 13.36 in the men’s under-20 invitational 110mH, making it a trio of outstanding junior performances. His time was well inside the World Juniors qualifying mark and erased Lawrence Clarke’s 13.37 which came with European Junior Championships gold in 2009.

Also making the grade for World Juniors, and further underlining her ability to perform consistently at a high level, Sophie Hitchon (coach: Derek Evely) won the women’s hammer match for the GB Juniors with 65.93m.

Currently ranked second in the world (under-20), Hitchon recorded three throws over 65m, her best effort only 5cm short of her UK age group record set in Germany a week ago.

“Obviously I want to set PBs every week, but realistically that’s not going to happen,” said Hitchon who admitted she was focusing on her competition preparation and approach. “I’ve been consistent in my performances once again today and I’m pleased with that. You always want to do better, but I got the win and I’m relatively happy.”

Sam Bailey (coach: Carol Jackson) achieved a World Juniors mark with 2.15m in men's high jump, equalling his PB and finishing third, while in the triple jump, Ben Williams (coach: John Crotty), having already exceeded the World Juniors qualifying standard indoors, fell short of the required standard outdoors by 5cm, but Kola Adedoyin (coach: Frank Attoh), competing as a guest and finishing one place above Williams in third, made sure of the distance with a confident and well executed 15.93m.

Others to secure the standard but competing as guests were Jack Green (Kent AC) with 51.49 in the men’s invitational 400mH, one-hundredth of a second inside the 51.50s mark, and 2009 European Youth Olympic 200m champion Jennie Batten (Stroud), who finished sixth in the women's invitational 200m 'A' race in 23.88.  .

Of those on the GB Juniors team, Dan Talbot (coach: Dan Cossins) and Kieran Showler-Davis (coach: John Davis) hit World Juniors standards with times of 10.48 and 20.85 in the 100m and 200m respectively, both lifetime best performances, however, the wind readings for both - frustratingly on a near-perfect day - were recorded at illegal speeds of +2.5 m/s and +2.2m/s.

The GB Juniors finished third overall in the match event with 95.5 points behind winners England (151) and Loughborough Students in second (134).

Other top performances from the day are in a separate report on: www.uka.org.uk

Full results will be available at: http://www.uka.org.uk/media/news/may-2010/23-05-10-lboro/