What a Squad!

National Successes for Happy Harriers Hammer Throwers!

Having made the long trek up to Manchester on Friday 9th July, Josephine Larkins (SG Hammer) was eager to get started. This was her first English Schools Championships and unsurprisingly she was a little nervous but excited to represent Essex.  As the penultimate athlete to throw this allowed her to size up her fellow competitors. After a No Throw on her first attempt due to nerves, Josephine threw 42.00m on her 3rd attempt, leaving her in 7th place going into the final. Unable to increase this with a further 3 throws,  she slipped into 8th place narrowly missing out on 7th by 3cm.

On Saturday 10th July, competing inher second English Schools Championships,  and hoping to improve on her 12th place finish from 2019, Olivia Simon was able to showcase her recent training increases. A solid first three rounds in the IG competition, with all legal throws ensured her progression through to the final eight and gave her three extra throws. Her best distance of 45.65m – less than half a metre under her PB – came in round 5 and moved her into fifth place heading into the last round. Two massive final round efforts from competitors pushed Olivia back into seventh place but she was happy to have made her first national final and to deliver six legal throws in a season where she has recorded 4 personal best performances and improved consistency in her technique.   This achievement represents a big step up in Olivia’s ability to compete at the highest domestic level.

After a wet start to Sunday 11th July at Manchester Sports City Arena the JB hammer was one of the last few events to take place that weekend. An energetic Wyatt Larkins was excited and started off with a throw of 38.48m, his second and third throws caught the net, but he was in fifth place going into the final. Wyatt remained calm and on his 5th attempt threw 40.06m which secured him  4th place, in his debut National Championships.

Second claim member, Oliver Graham has recently taken big strides in the competitive arena with a third-place finish at the Bedford Games with a pb of 62.69. A second-place finish at the South of England Senior Championships with a throw of 61.45m. Two weeks later at the British under 23 championships he replicated the colour of the medal with another PB of 62.93m. In so doing he was able to soundly beat the 2020 number one under 20, Sean Kerry, into third place. Last year Oliver was invited to join  England Athletics Junior Talent Pathway and is also supported by Sportsaid. His recent competitions rank him fifth in the U23 rankings and 19th overall.

Competitions are a little flat and the adrenalin is not quite there due to restrictions on competitors and spectators… but I have England Senior Champs this weekend, so I am hoping for another good performance against a number of the senior elite throwers.”

Senior thrower Philippa Davenall is having a season of discovery. At the BIG meeting in Bedford at the end of May she came mighty close to her PB with a throw of 62.14 and a very solid competitive second place. A couple of weeks later, competing at the South of England Championships she finished with the third-place medal. To supplement these performances, and despite some misgivings, Philippa was able to finish 7th at the Olympic Trials in Manchester. Ranked 11th of the 11 starters on the season rankings, Philippa battled to make the last eight cut after three rounds, with 60.32m before progressing to 60.96 in round four. This achievement represented her best ever performance and must be the steppingstone to further progression in 2022 !

Despite only throwing at mostly home competitions Rob Earle is currently ranked number one in the 2021 world over 60 rankings with a UK best of 55.53m. In addition he has exceeded the UK over 60 age best with the senior weight hammer at the recent SAL meeting in Chelmsford [45.29m].