Basildon clean up at Lee Valley – Sat 3rd Sun 4th February
BASILDON celebrated one of its most successful championships in recent memory last weekend, taking home more than 20 medals at the Essex County and Eastern Combined Events Championships.
The 60m programme on day one gave a glimpse of things to come when Jan Barnard successfully defended his indoor Masters’ title to secure it for the third successive year. The rivalry with Braintree’s Amr Ziko lived up to its pre-race billing with a photo finish required to decide placings.
Barnard’s sheer determination secured him the win as he was judged to have finished marginally ahead of Ziko despite both having run the same time of 7.61 seconds.
Team mate Clint Nicholls had also qualified for the 60m final for consecutive years and was looking for a spot on the podium. Having progressed through the heats with ease, he finished fourth in the final, but was the third athlete home to secure an Essex County bronze in 7.89 seconds.
In the Under 17 Men’s heats, Emmanuel Ogunmola and Joey Awala-Shaw set new personal bests of 7.82 and 7.56 respectively, while Cameron Ellis qualified for the semi final, but couldn’t find the performance that would take him through to the final. He need not have worried as this wasn’t to be the last we saw of Ellis. He returned on day two to record a new personal best of 1.75m in the high jump and take silver medals for the Essex County and Eastern Counties championship behind Thurrock’s Theo Adesina (1.80m).
Back in Saturday’s 60 metre battles, U15 girls Paige Stephens and Madi Poppy set new personal bests of 8.68 and 8.95 in the heats ahead of another medal winning performance from Masters’ athlete Amanda Dodge. Her third place finish in the regional race also meant she was the first Essex Master home, securing County Gold in 10.02 ahead of Colchester and Tendring’s Carey Hollick (11.25).
Elsewhere in the sprints, there was a new PB for U13 girl Theresa Ogunyemi in 31.73 before three time champion Jan Barnard returned to the track in search of more medals.
This time, in the 300m, there was to be no challenge from arch rival Ziko and Barnard progressed through the heats with ease, along with middle distance specialist Andy Coleman. The final would bring Barnard his sought-after double county title, winning the final race in 40.24 ahead of Southend’s Graham Eastty in 41 seconds dead. Thomas Grimes of East London finished third in 41.28.
In the 400m, U17 Man William Rean took county and regional silver behind Braintree’s Adam Reid (53.28) in 53.40, while the middle distance runners were preparing to take to the track.
Steve Strange produced an exemplary piece of running in the initial heat of the 800m, beating eventual winner Daniel Mees (Peterborough) in a time of 1:58.1 seconds. Sadly, he was unable to reproduce in the final after his body gave out. However, he was still able to console himself with a medal in the Essex Championship for his efforts.
Under 20 Mitchel Cox, meanwhile, nailed a solid race to take gold in 1:58.3 ahead of Colchester’s Oscar Dawson who finished some three seconds behind.
In the Senior Women’s event Charlotte Bishop took third spot behind Alex Hill of Herts Phoenix and Deborah Willis of Enfield.
The 1500m would also highlight Basildon’s broad strength in the middle distance category. Isaac Brown gave an impressive performance in the U20 men’s category to take second place in 4.16.99 behind Orion’s Lewis Harknett just over a second in front.
Then came the breathtaking performance of Gemma Kersey and Isobel Ives who completely outclassed the competition to take county and regional gold and silver respectively. Kersey clocked a season’s best of 4:30.76 and Ives 4:41.22. Third place went to Chloe Pavey of Nene Valley in 5:32.57.
In the Hurdles, where Basildon has historically made a name in recent years, there were a handful of good performances, led by Clint Nicholls who took silver in the Essex County Championship in the Senior Men’s event (9.22). Under 15 Boy Jonny Rouse and Under 15 Girl Chloe Dornan clocked new bests of 9.39 and 10.45 respectively.
In the field events, there was even more glory to come. Nicholls, the outdoor County Champion last year, was perhaps a little tired from his other medal winning performances and had to settle for silver this time around, jumping 1.70m in the Senior Men’s High Jump. He was beaten by Thurrock’s Regan Cuthbert (1.75m).
In the Pole Vault, Under 13 Zowie Dodge stepped up an age category to compete as an Under 15 and was rewarded with a double silver for her efforts, jumping 1.80m. In the Senior Men’s event Joe McGrath was unchallenged, and opened his season with a 3m vault. In the Triple Jump, Nicole Harvey had an excellent performance, jumping 10.65 to take double silver behind Thurrock’s Kendrea Nwaelene.
Full results can be found at Power of 10.