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UK Athletics

Aikines Aryeetey takes Gold

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On a superb night for the Norwich Union GB & NI team, 17 year old Harry Aikines Aryeetey (Sutton & District) sped to 100m Gold, two more athletes reached finals with brilliant performances and 15 year old Asha Phillip (Newham & Essex Beagles) equalled the GB women’s best ever placing in a World Junior 100m final, with a fabulous fourth place.


Aikines Aryeetey (Sutton & District) put behind the niggling doubts and injuries to sprint to Golden glory in the 100m. The youngster ignored the credentials of athletes older and faster than him to stride to victory after the fastest start of the eight finalists in 10.37 seconds – a season’s best and proof that he is indeed a championship performer.


Despite admitting that he had started to doubt himself following the few weeks where he suffered with a trapped nerve in his back following his run in Gateshead in June, he was elated by the win – and proof that he could reach the very high standards he has started to set himself. “This is what its all about!” he said.

“I can’t believe it. I’ve had this doubt in my mind after I became double World Youth Champion, and with the back niggle in June people supporting me – Sarah Black my physio, UKA and the staff at the EIS have pulled me through it and made me believe again. “I’m thrilled – I love China – China’s been good to me – the people are nice and the scenery is great and I want to come back here in two years time.

“I knew that I had the ability but with the trapped nerve and I’m 17 – these guys are serious sprinters – it just feels great to come out here and do this – ok I didn’t do a PB but I’ve proved I am a championship performer!”


Wade Bennett Jackson (Belgrave Harriers) was unfortunate not to have gained a medal for his efforts in qualifying. One of the fastest out of the blocks he could not stay with the pick-up, and faded to 6th in 10.45 – a fact made even more painful when the stadium announcers delayed the final result being published on the screens in order to introduce the 12 finalists in the discus – leaving 7 nervous sprinters awaiting their result as Aikines Aryeetey danced around his victory lap. Martyn Rooney (Croydon Harriers) showed his class over the 400m field by producing another class run to literally ease over the line in 1st in his semi final. The 46.01 clocking gained despite easing up metres before the line well clear of the second placed competitor. Grant Baker (Leicester Coritanian) was not so fortunate and endured a wait to see if he would make it through as a fastest loser after finishing 3rd in 46.55. Despite his best effort the fastest losers came one from each of the other two semi finals and he was left with the relay to concentrate on for the rest of the week in Beijing.


Mark Mitchell (Forres Harriers) and James Brewer (Cheltenham Harriers) were both outrun in fast races in the 800m, where the opening 200m was covered in little less than a pure sprint. Mitchell who had looked so strong in his heat was stuck at the back of the charge and battled gamely to keep himself in the mix over the first 600m rolled in last in 1.53.51 as the field was just too strong led by Kenyan David Rudisha. Brewer had more of a chance although when the kick occurred he wasn’t able to live with the pace and finished 4th in 1.49.53.


In the Men’s Decathlon, Daniel Awde (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) had a confident start in the high jump, although his effort, which finished with 1.89m, was curtailed by a foot injury picked up whilst attempting 1.92m. However quick inspection work by the medics ensured it was not a threat to his overall campaign and he left the high jump to prepare for what he described as his best event – the 400m.  The 400m – an event in which Daniel ranks highly as an individual in the juniors showed there was still time to make inroads into the competitors ahead, by winning his heat in 48.96 – the fastest out of all the decathlon field heats run. Although he finished the day well down on his points expectations, his upbeat sign off for the day left the 18 year old with confidence he could make day 2 memorable for the right reasons. Awde’s point’s total stands at 3700, he lies in 20th position overall.


In the Women’s 100m, Asha Phillip (Newham & Essex Beagles) proved her week’s work had been no fluke when she clocked another impressive time and only narrowly missed out on a medal in the final.

The determined 15 year old again got a tremendous start and stormed through the field in 11.48. It was a shame there wasn’t enough track as her pick-up had her headed for a bronze in her first World juniors, but the bubbly youngster announced herself happy with her week’s work. “It was such a different experience,” she said of her time competing at this level. “But I don’t mind that I came 4th because I was just so happy to have got out of the blocks well and to have performed well. “It was a scary occasion at first – but once you do the first round and get racing everything is ok. I know what this is all about now – the crowd, the routine, the track. “It doesn’t matter that I didn’t get a medal because I’ve had my name up on that final scoreboard and no-one can take that from me!”


In the Women’s 800m, Emma Jackson (City of Stoke) was unlucky not to reach the final after a well controlled race in the first of the three semi finals. Her race, where she cleverly kept out of trouble, was decided in the last few strides, as the thickness of her vest made the difference between 2nd place and a guaranteed place in the final and 3rd and the waiting game.


Unfortunately having been in the first of three the next two races were run at a blistering pace which ensured the strong athlete would not get a second chance in these championships. It was a double blow for Great Britain as Danielle Christmas (Crawley AC) suffered badly in the pace of the last semi, and despite gamely hanging on was left wanting by the powerful athletes dictating her race. Christmas’ 2.07.26 gave her fifth in a race where she dug deep throughout but was simply beaten by better girls on the day.


In the 400m Hurdles, Perri Shakes Drayton (Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets) demonstrated exactly why team management presented her with the honour of team captaincy when she grabbed the team another PB and proudly made the final in what is only her second international.


Martin Rush – U20 team leader predicted earlier in the week that the attributes that would make her a good captain were ones he expected to show in her performances this week.

“In only her second international she has shown great commitment to process and has really adapted into the preparation camp environment well. The way she conducts herself in her manner and training is what you want to see at these events, “ he said. Her 57.52 was enough for 4th in the second semi final and secured a well deserved place in the final – it was also the third Age 17 best she has set this season – and represents 0.63 of a second she has lopped from her PB since arriving at these Championships.

The final takes place on Friday evening and Shakes Drayton will be aiming for a hat-trick of PBs this week.