Southern Indoor Championships
A Brace of Bronze Medals for Harrier’s Elite Sprinters
A handful of Harrier’s young track and field athletes took on the might of the Southern Indoor Championships held at Lee Valley Athletic Centre over the last two weekends.
First up to compete on Saturday 7th January in the U17 women’s 60m were Megan Stevens and Savannah Harrison. Harrison was placed 5th in her heat running 8.71s. Stretching her legs again after competing at the New Year’s Day Open Meeting the week before, Stevens forced her way into the semi-finals, with a dipping finish in her heat, running 8.56s. The following day saw the two girls compete in the 200m where both were unfortunate not to reach the next round but gained valuable experience at this prominent event. Stevens ran 28.65s in her heat and Harrison ran 28.99s.
Competing on Sunday 8 January, Thierry Ajala – who has proved very handy for Harriers in the cross country league – gave himself a very tough day of competition, taking on a number of events at his first ever major Championship. His U17 men’s 200m rewarded him with a PB of 25.30s, followed a mere thirty minutes later with a commendable third place in his heat of the 400m and another PB, running 56.51s. A good base on which to build his year.
On Saturday 14th January, at the U20 and Senior Indoor Championships 17 year old Charlie Dobson continued his progression as one of Harrier’s top sprinters claiming a new PB and club record in the U20 Men’s 60m, running 7.09s, to earn himself a place in the semis, where he again run under his previous PB.
Twenty Four hours later saw Dobson back on the track in the 200m, his favoured distance. A very comfortable and impressive win in his heat in a new PB of 22.69s took him through to the semi as the surprising second fastest qualifier where despite a slower start he made good ground to claim another PB and a further fast qualifying time for the final. His first meet in this challenging older age group rewarded him with a well-deserved Bronze medal position, where the top three places were split by just 0.04 of a second, and yet another PB and U20 Club record of 22.15s, smashing his previous Indoor time by 1.07s! Both performances of the weekend mean he has qualified to the England Athletics Open U20 Championships in Sheffield, in February.
Dobson said “I felt pretty relaxed, there was no expectations on me as first year U20, and so I could just go out and do what my coach asked of me.”
Not to be outdone, training partner, Rebecca Jeggo – who only turned 17 a few days before – despite feeling the pressure as UK No 1 ranked U20 women’s athlete over 200m, following a blistering win and new club record on New Year’s Day (25.22s) , went on to claim a competent win in her heat, settling her nerves. This took her straight to the final where she pitted her wits against last year’s outdoor National Champion. A nail biting last fifty meters saw Jeggo keep her cool as she clawed back ground, cruising across the line in 25.56s, snatching third place and an excellent Bronze medal.
“I couldn’t be happier getting a South of England 200m Bronze medal in my first year under 20.” Jeggo tweeted later that evening.
Jake Young and Oscar Dawson both competed in the U20 Men’s 800m where a talented field of older athletes proved too much for this impressive pair who have both earned valuable points and individual success so far on the Cross Country circuit this season.