Double Success for Ogunleye at English Schools Champs.

The 89th English Schools Athletics Championships took place at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham over Friday 12 and Saturday 13 July.

Showcasing some of the best athletes of each county in the country for the honour of being crowned English Schools Champion in their respective age and event, athletes had to have been selected by their County Team Manager in order to compete.

Harriers were privileged this year to have three youngsters selected and for senior girl Joy Ogunleye 2019 will be a year to remember.  A veteran of five previous Championships which saw her earn two bronze medals over 200m as a Junior as well as being an integral part of the Essex Relay squad throughout the years, this was her last chance to better an already successful record. 

After comfortably winning her 100m heat the previous day, in 11.98secs, Ogunleye’s usual electric start, put her ahead of the rest over the first 80m, but just missed Gold at the line after being closed down in the last few metres by a strong finishing London athlete. Her time of 11.83sec (0.6) was just 0.04secs away from Gold claiming a fantastic new PB and Club Record. Just reward for her work in training this year. Later in the afternoon she followed the individual medal, with a team Gold in the 4x100m relay, the Essex quartet equalling the competitions best performance of 46.44s.

Making their debut appearances were junior girls Olivia Simon and Zion Ateba.  Ateba, in the royal blue of Suffolk Schools looked somewhat out of sorts with her High Jump competition and was unable to settle into her usual confident rhythm. Entering at 1.46m she progressed to 1.51m after her third attempt and continued into the next round again using all her available options,  but was unable to clear 1.59m. She ended the day in 13th out of a field of 21.

Simon, competing for Essex in the 3kg Hammer saw her event take place outside the actual stadium and was somewhat distanced from the main atmosphere. Following a lengthy delay in the call room due to the previous event over running, her warm-up throw looked good, however she wasn’t able to recreate anywhere near her current standard during the competition and although finishing a creditable 12th place was disappointed with her individual performance, she was delighted however to be a member of the winning Essex team.

Both girls will benefit hugely from their experience of being part of such a prestigious event and can look forward to accepting the challenge for re-selection next year.