Southern Intercounties and other T & F action!
by Max Simon and Chris Jeggo
Saturday 7th September was the date set for the annual South of England Inter county U15 and U20 Championships held at Horspath in Oxfordshire, a hotly contested match with 16 counties all fielding their best athletes hoping to score points to add to the team tally and win the coveted age group trophies.
Colchester had three athletes representing Essex this year, with all three competing early on a very chilly morning.
First up was U20 sprinter Joy Ogunleye who was expecting to be competing in the 100m heats but with many athletes not arriving for their race it went to a straight final and Joy dominated from gun to tape to take an easy win and maximum points for the team.
Next to compete was Zion Ateba in the U15 girls high jump. With a field of 14 athletes, many starting the competition at lower heights than Zion, she had to keep warmed up and maintain her focus. A first-time clearance of 1.5m was enough to claim 6th place and a valuable 3 points.
Finally, Olivia Simon took part in the U15 girls hammer. Again, a large start list meant for lengthy waits between throws, but that only seemed to increase the competitive nature of the event. There was a real tussle for the top few positions with the placings changing throughout the rounds. Olivia finished 4th claiming 5 points for Team Essex, all helping out home county to becoming Southern Champions in both age categories.
On Sunday, having made the trip north to Manchester, Joy was joined by Rebecca Jeggo to compete for their higher claim team – Shaftesbury Barnet in the YDL (Youth Development League) finals.
The YDL is the premier youth team event in the United Kingdom, with the league split into three area divisions, North, Midlands and South. The top two teams from the premier league of each division compete for the UK title.
On the day both ladies completed sprint doubles. Rebecca, running A string, won the 100m in 11.89s and the 200m in 24.26s. with Joy recording 12.38s & 24.99s in the B string. Rebecca’s results were particularly pleasing, both times were within 3/100ths of her personal best and in the 200m she held off challenges from two GB junior athletes to take the win.
In their last event as juniors, the 4 X 100m relay, both ladies took their third gold medals of the day when the Shaftesbury Barnet team broke the league record in a time of 46.32s.
Medals were presented by Julian Golding, who is the president of Blackheath and Bromley, and is 6th on the all-time UK rankings for the 200m.
Shaftesbury Barnet were runners up on the day, behind fellow south team Blackheath and Bromley.