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Norwich Union AAA U20, U17 & U15 Championships
05 Mar 2006 20:53

The teenage athletes arriving for the Norwich Union AAA Under 20, Under 17 and Under 15 Championships on 4 and 5 March were assured that the road to glory begins at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena.

The posters proclaiming the message referred to the 2007 European Indoor Championships. But every athlete has his/her own vision of glory – as proven by the World Youth 100m and 200m Champion Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Sutton and District) when friends teased him for celebrating his 60m victory long before he crossed the line.

“This was my first AAA Under 20 title and I’ve been really hyped about it for two weeks or so,” he beamed after clocking 6.67 seconds – three hundredths inside the entry standard for the seniors at next weekend’s IAAF World Indoor Championships and a full tenth ahead of Silver medallist Gerald Phiri (City of Sheffield).

What! A double World Champion excited by a domestic Gold medal? Harry explained: “The Norwich Union Grand Prix [when he raced against senior international stars] made me realise how I need to feel on the start line. I was relaxed to the point I was simply not capable of moving fast.

“And tonight was the first time I have taken a race out from the start. At the Senior AAAs, I was eighth at 45 metres and came through to get the Bronze medal.” This time he got away like lightning and was never headed.

His coach, Matt Favier, supported his rationale: “That was the best start he has ever had. The whole point of this indoors campaign was to get the first 40 metres right. He did tonight.”

Harry added: “That’s why I love championships. You can get into your running in the rounds.”

But even amid this euphoria, he had the presence of mind to remember his first coach, Leslie Alder, who passed away two years ago: “I will never forget his contributions.”

And what will Harry’s next contributions be? “I started preparing for outdoors this week and the target’s always been the World Junior Championships in Beijing … to get into the final and hopefully get a medal. I have definitely got high hopes!”

He will be far from the only teenager to take optimism from a Championships containing one Welsh record, one Scottish record and a mass of entries into the all-time top 10 of UK rankings through the age groups. Here are some of the highlights…

Under 20 Men

Bruce Tasker (Carmarthen) ran 400m the brave way to lower the Welsh Under 20 record to 47.74 and win the Gold medal. He made sure he was first to the bell and opened up a five metres lead down the back straight, then held on determinedly as Louis Sellars (Winchester) closed to within a quarter of a second. It took bold Bruce past the previous record of 47.83 run by Matt Elias at senior Norwich Union AAA Indoor Champs in 1998. Oh, and the entry standard for the World Juniors is 47.00.

Jude Beimers (Shaftesbury Barnet) extended the Scottish Under 20 triple jump best to 15.23m in winning the title.

Robbie Grabarz (Bedford and County) cleared a World Junior Championships high jump entry standard for the second successive week. Having cleared 2.20m at the Birmingham Games last weekend, he returned to the NIA to win the title with 2.15m.

Rion Pierre (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) flew to fourth on the UK all-time Under 20 Men’s 200m list with 21.23 seconds, three-hundredths ahead of Christian Malcolm’s time when the Welshman was on his way to winning World Junior 100m and 200m titles. Then Pierre returned on Sunday to take the 60mk Bronze medal.

Robert James (Birchfield) went to fifth in the UK all-time Under 20 60m hurdles rankings with his smooth victory in 7.92 seconds.

Luke Cutts (Dearneside) became only the ninth UK Under 20 pole vaulter to clear 5.00m as he struck Gold.

Under 20 Women

A week after beating all the Senior Women in a Gloucestershire road race, Emily Pidgeon (Gloucester) demonstrated her versatility by running away with the 1500m title. The European Junior 5000m Champion and Cross Country Silver medallist won in 4:30.87.

Denae Matthew (Leicester Coritanian) went to second in the UK Under 20 Women’s all-time triple jump rankings with her winning leap of 12.56m. She is now headed by only Yasmine Regis, who earned senior international honours with Norwich Union GB last summer, who cleared 12.65m to win this title last year.

Zara Hohn (Wakefield Harriers) sped to 60m hurdles victory in 8.42 seconds, only three-hundredths outside the Championship Best that has stood to Natasha Danvers (Croydon) since 1996. It took her to equal eighth in the UK all-time list for the age group. And Silver medallist Serita Solomon (Blackheath and Bromley) crossed the line only three-hundredths adrift to draw level in the Under 20 indoor rankings with vastly experienced senior international Diane Allahgreen and European Junior heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis.

Kim Skinner (Falkirk Victoria Harriers), who is already established as the second most successful UK Under 20 pole vaulter of all-time, secured the title with a 3.80m clearance, 10cm short of her best.

European Junior long jump Silver medallist Amy Harris (Birchfield) provided the drama. She won the title with a 6.15m leap but was then stretchered from the sandpit after making another attempt to break the UK indoor record of 6.25m that has stood to Margaret Cheetham (Liverpool Harriers) for no fewer than 21 years. It looked dire. But the latest news is that Amy has suffered nothing more serious than a mild pull of her right hamstring. As a member of the UK Athletics World Class Development Programme, she will receive daily treatment at the West Midlands High Performance Centre at Alexander Stadium with a view to emerging good as new for the outdoor season.

Under 17 Men

A serious taste of international competition was added to the proceedings by an IAAF development programme that enabled athletes from Asia and Europe to add to the quality of competition.

Stefan Tseng Ke Chen (Singapore), currently at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff under a deal brokered by Commonwealth Games pole vaulter Scott Simpson, improved the triple jump Championships Best to 15.18m. It emphatically erased the 25-year-old CBP of 14.87m set by Vernon Samuels (Bristol) at the old indoor cathedral at RAF Cosford – and was 11cm further than the UK Under 20 record of 15.07m by Steven Anderson (Windsor, Slough and Eton) at a meeting in Paris, also in 1981.

Andy Marsh (City of Stoke), who won the pole vault with a clearance of 4.65m, sits third in the UK all-time rankings just above another famous son of Stoke, Steven Lewis, who is about to compete for England at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne later this month.

Nathan Woodward (Tamworth) smoothed into seventh place in the all-time 800m lists in winning in 1:55.83.

Welsh Champion Tom Miller (Cardiff) controlled the 400m final to win in 49.26 seconds and go eighth on the UK all-time list, just ahead of Rob Tobin (Basingstoke and Mid Hants), who has improved to such a degree since he clocked 49.41 at these Championships in this Arena in 2000 that he is now the European Under 23 Champion and is in contention for a medal at the Commonwealth Games.

Curtis Griffith-Parker (Cambridge Harriers) won the shot with 17.82m, taking him to eighth in the UK all-time rankings.

Cameron Lake (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) won the high jump with a clearance of 2.03m, joining a clutch of three other athletes on equal ninth place in the UK all-time lists.

Under 17 Women

Sarah Hopkinson (Gloucester) powered to a Sunday distance double. Despite being boxed-in for the first 300m, she won the 800m convincingly in 2:10.25, a UK age 14 best that moved her to sixth on the UK all-time Under 17 list. And just over five and a half hours later, she made most of the pace in the 1500m to win by 30m in 4:33.28, within 2 seconds of her own PB.

Chelsea Cooper (City of Stoke) scored a sparkling double in personal best times – winning the 200m on Saturday in 24.28 seconds, the fifth-fastest in the UK all-time, and going to fourth on the UK all-time 60m hurdles list on Sunday when she clinched her second Gold medal in a time of 8.56 seconds. She hurdled superbly to hold off Ashley Helsby (Liverpool Harriers), who is two-hundredths of a second ahead of her on PBs.

Under 15 Boys

Michael Wheeler (Herne Hill Harriers) improved his UK indoor shot record to 17.46m, adding 13cm to the mark he set in January and an impressive 57cm further than the previous best, by Jay Thomas (Kent AC) two years ago. Wheeler also won the Under 17 Bronze medal, putting the heavier shot 14.78m.

John McCafferty (Irvine) equalled the high jump CBP of 1.91m set by Chuka Enih-Snell (Swansea) in 1998. John’s amazing day took in PBs at 1.85m, 1.88m and 1.91m before he had one particularly close attempt at 1.94m; his body sailed over the bar but his heels brought it down. Justifiably emboldened, he raised the bar to 1.96m – 1cm higher than the UK record held by Kenny McKeown (Ayr Seaforth) since 1996 – for his final effort but clipped it off with his shoulders.

Dan Putnam (Blackheath and Bromley) took fifth place on the UK all-time 400m list by dominating his final and winning in 52.42 seconds.

Kieran Showler-Davis (Winchester) went to fifth on the UK all-time long jump rankings with a winning effort of 6.23m. It took him to within 4cm of the CBP, set in 2003 by Luke Thomas (Enfield and Haringey), who was fourth in this weekend’s Under 20 Men’s competition with 6.81m.

Deji Tobias (Bedford and County) went to sixth on the UK all-time 200m list with a victory in 22.89 seconds on Saturday then returned on Sunday to win the 60m in 7.25 and go seven in the all-time rankings. His challenge is to go where none of the six ahead of him has so far – and emulate, say, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.

Under 15 Girls

Twinelle Hopeson (Archbishop Tenison School), younger sister of the highly-rated (but currently injured) Joscelynn, won the 200m in 24.88, only seven-hundredths short of the Championship Best set by Nicola Grossman (City of Glasgow) in 2001. It took Twinelle to third on the UK all-time list behind Grossman and Vernicha James, who clocked 24.75 in 1998.

Shaunna Thompson (Sale Harriers Manchester) went to fifth on the all-time 60m list with a victory in 7.69 seconds.

Here are all the medallists…

Under 20 Men

60m: 1 Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Sutton and District) 6.67; 2 Gerald Phiri (City of Sheffield) 6.77; 3 Rion Pierre (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) 6.82.

200m: 1 Pierre 21.23; 2 Wade Bennett-Jackson (Belgrave) 21.53; 3 Danny Doyley (Blackheath and Bromley) 22.06.

400m: 1 Bruce Tasker (Carmarthen) 47.74 (Welsh record); 2 Louis Sellars (Winchester) 48.01; 3 Adam Daish (Herts Phoenix) 48.87.

800m: 1 James Brewer (Cheltenham) 1:51.68; 2 Ed Aston (Cambridge and Coleridge) 1:51.97; 3 Rick Ward (City of Norwich) 1:54.51.

1500m: 1 James Mills (Wrexham) 3:57.58; 2 Tom Marley (Exeter) 3:59.15; 3 Laurence Cox (Aldershot, Farnham and District) 3:59.83.

3000m: 1 David Bishop (Bristol and West) 8:44.94; 2 Rob Mullett (Lewes) 8:49.74; 3 Mitch Goose (City of Norwich) 8:55.10.

60m hurdles: 1 Robert James (Birchfield) 7.92; 2 Gianni Frankis (Basildon) 7.98; 3 Julian Adeniran (Charnwood) 7.98.

3km walk: 1 Nicholas Ball (Steyning) 12:44.75.

High jump: 1 Robbie Grabarz (Bedford and County) 2.15; 2 Martin Kalafus (Slovakia) 2.07; 3 Matthew Owens (Liverpool H) 2.04.

Pole vault: 1 Luke Cutts (Dearneside) 5.00; 2 Joe Ive (Belgrave) 4.70; 3 Ezekiel Rowe (Sale Harriers Manchester) 4.60.

Long jump: 1 John Carr (Shaftesbury Barnet) 6.96; 2 Anthony Timms (Pudsey and Bramley) 6.91; 3 Francis Baker (City of Norwich) 6.89.

Triple jump: 1 Jude Beimers (Shaftesbury Barnet) 15.23; 2 Matthew Burton (Kent) 14.67; 3 John Carr (Shaftesbury Barnet) 14.48.

Shot: 1 Jamie Williamson (City of Sheffield) 17.05; 2 Dan Tinkler (Peterborough) 16.23; 3 Jay Thomas (Kent) 16.23.

Under 20 Women

60m: 1 Claire Brady (Ireland) 7.70; 2 Amy Godsell (Blackheath and Bromley) 7.73; 3 Amy Foster (North Down) 7.75.

200m: 1 Joey Duck (Marshall Milton Keynes) 24.24; 2 Amy Foster (North Down) 24.73; 3 Perri Shakes-Drayton (Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets) 24.81.

400m: 1 Emma Cloggie (Banchory Stonehaven) 55.27; 2 Mairead Deevy (Ireland) 56.97; 3 Justine Kinney (Royal Sutton Coldfield) 57.35.

800m: 1 Carolyn Plateau (Radley) 2:14.73; 2 Laura Crowe (Ireland) 2:16.24; 3 Rebecca Hall (Kettering Town) 2:17.61.

1500m: 1 Emily Pidgeon (Gloucester) 4:30.87; 2 Ruth Senior (City of Norwich) 4:35.57; 3 Nicola Maddick (Kingston upon Hull) 4:36.11.

60m hurdles: 1 Zara Hohn (Wakefield) 8.42; 2 Serita Solomon (Blackheath and Bromley) 8.45; 3 Sarah Adams (Leicester Coritanian) 8.58.

3km walk: 1 Rebecca Mersh (City of Sheffield) 14:40.94.

High jump: 1 Stephanie Pywell (Sale Harriers Manchester) 1.77; 2 Vikki Hubbard (Grantham) 1.77; equal 3 Jessica Leach (Dudley and Stourbridge) and Shani Rainford (Herne Hill Harriers) 1.74.

Pole vault: 1 Kim Skinner (Falkirk Victoria Harriers) 3.80; 2 Kimberley Smith (Sale Harriers Manchester) 3.50; 3 Jessica Abraham (Cardiff) 3.50.

Long jump: 1 Amy Harris (Birchfield) 6.15; 2 Gemma Weetman (Oswestry Olympians) 5.95; 3 Kelly Proper (Ireland) 5.84.

Triple jump: 1 Denae Matthew (Leicester Coritanian) 12.56; 2 Claire Linskill (North Devon) 12.29; 3 Nony Mordi (Shaftesbury Barnet) 12.15.

Shot: 1 Eden Francis (Leicester Coritanian) 13.98; 2 Liz Millward (Birchfield) 13.70; 3 Chloe Edwards (Huntingdonshire) 12.97.

Under 17 Men

60m: 1 Olyfunmi Sobodu (Worthing) 7.04; 2 Yusuf Aliu (Middlesbrough Mandale) 7.04; 3 Edward Chan (Sale Harriers Manchester) 7.05.

200m: 1 Tony Corrigan (Liverpool Harriers) 22.11; 2 Andrew Robertson (Sale Harriers Manchester) 22.60; 3 Gerard Riley (Ireland) 22.78.

400m: 1 Tom Miller (Cardiff) 49.26; 2 Dwayne Blake (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) 50.34; 3 Sean Watson (Shettleston H) 50.48.

800m: 1 Nathan Woodward (Tamworth) 1:55.83; 2 Harry Webb (Yate) 1:56.85; 3 Shaun Devenney (City of Edinburgh) 1:57.29.

1500m: 1 Kenny Boyd (Glasgow School of Sport) 4:09.56; 2 Curtis Pearce (Blackburn) 4:10.17; 3 Peter Matthews (Blackburn) 4:10.82.

60m hurdles: 1 Michael Baker (Medway and Maidstone) 8.21; 2 Miles Manley (Preston H) 8.28; 3 Andrew Pearson (Notts) 8.57.

3km walk: 1 Antonio Cirillo (Swansea) 14:54.10.

High jump: 1 Cameron Lake (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) 2.03; 2 Christopher Berns (Solihull and Small Heath) 1.97; 3 Adam Beyer (Slovakia) 1.97.

Pole vault: 1 Andy Marsh (City of Stoke) 4.65; equal 2 Ryszard Buck (Croydon) and Tony Hillier (Bristol and West) 4.20.

Long jump: 1 Nonso Okolo (Shaftesbury Barnet) 6.76; 2 Laurence Fith (Corby) 6.62; 3 Stefan Tseng Ke Chen (Singapore) 6.48.

Triple jump: 1 Ke Chen 15.18 (CBP); 2 Nonso Okolo (Shaftesbury Barnet) 13.70; 3 Mattew Goh You Jie (Singapore) 13.69.

Shot: 1 Curtis Griffith-Parker (Cambridge Harriers) 17.82; 2 Allan MacKay (Shettleston) 14.87; 3 Michael Wheeler (Herne Hill) 14.78.

Under 17 Women

60m: 1 Asha Philip (Newham and Essex Beagles) 7.59; 2 Torema Dorsett (Enfield and Haringey) 7.64; 3 Jennifer Taker (Trafford) 7.66.

200m: 1 Chelsea Cooper (City of Stoke) 24.28; 2 Robyn Rashford (Sale Harriers Manchester) 24.53; 3 Niamh Wheland (Ireland) 24.87.

300m: 1 Alexandra Stukova (Slovakia) 39.93; 2 Carmen Gedling (Liverpool H) 40.53; 3 Nicola Campbell (Dundee Hawkhill H) 40.62.

800m: 1 Sarah Hopkinson (Gloucester) 2:10.25; 2 Lynsey Sharp (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) 2:10.91; 3 Alison Leonard (Chorley Harriers) 2:12.44.

1500m: 1 Hopkinson 4:33.28; 2 Natalie Grant (Rotherham) 4:37.83; 3 Rebecca Finch (City of Glasgow) 4:40.57.

60m hurdles: 1 Cooper 8.56; 2 Ashley Helsby (Liverpool Harriers) 8.60; 3 Jennifer Taker (Trafford) 8.72.

3km walk: 1 Chelsea Hobbs (Blackheath and Bromley) 15:49.55; 2 Kathryn Granger (City of Sheffield) 16:06.72; 3 Holly Williams (Blackheath and Bromley) 18:35.63.

High jump: 1 Kayley Alcorn (Worthing) 1.66; 2 Katie Connolly (Sphinx) 1.66; 3 Hatti Scramanga (Yeovil Olympiades) 1.63.

Pole vault: 1 Abigail Haywood (Sale Harriers Manchester) 3.60; 2 Christina Moore (Ashford) 3.30; equal 3 Courtney MacGuire (Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets) and Stephanie McKenzie (Falkirk Victoria) 3.20.

Long jump: 1 Alice Lennox (City of Stoke) 5.61; 2 Eleanor Markendale (Pendle) 5.55; 3 Caryl Granville (Carmarthen) 5.45.

Triple jump: 1 Alcorn 11.48; 2 Hanna Hewitson (Vale Royal) 11.36; 3 Granville 11.29.

Shot: 1 Jenny Brown (Mid Ulster) 12.09; 2 Rachael Wallader (Halesowen) 11.91; 3 Lucy Underdown (Paddock Wood) 11.65.

Under 15 Boys

60m: 1 Deji Tobias (Bedford and County) 7.25; 2 Matthew Webster (Shaftesbury Barnet) 7.32; 3 Dijon Archer (Herne Hill Harriers) 7.41.

200m: 1 Tobias 22.89; 2 Dan Putnam (Blackheath and Bromley) 23.99; 3 James Armstrong (Southport Waterloo) 24.02.

400m: 1 Putnam 52.42; 2 James Senior (City of Norwich) 52.62; 3 Joash Howard (Croydon) 53.72.

800m: 1 Senior 2:03.13; 2 Stephen Cavey (Blackheath and Bromley) 2:03.67; 3 Joe Basquill (Hyndburn) 2:03.85.

60m hurdles: 1 Benjamin Cleary (Cardiff) 8.69; 2 Jack Meredith (Liverpool H) 8.81; 3 Ciaran Donnelly (Ireland) 8.83.

High jump: 1 John McCafferty (Irvine) 1.91 (equal CBP); 2 Philip Kennedy (Sale Harriers Manchester) 1.78; 3 Justin Lakey (Newbury) 1.72.

Pole vault: 1 Tim Parkin (Gateshead) 3.20; 2 Jordan Henwood (Newquay and Par) 3.20; 3 Tom Gibson (Bristol and West) 3.10.

Long jump: 1 Kieran Showler-Davis (Winchester) 6.23; 2 Ding Yang (Bristol and West) 6.04; 3 Samuel Lawrence (Nene Valley H) 5.90.

Shot: 1 Michael Wheeler (Herne Hill) 17.46 (UK record); 2 James Preston (Bristol and West) 14.26; 3 Ryan Stewart (Central) 13.81.

Under 15 Girls

60m: 1 Shaunna Thompson (Sale Harriers Manchester) 7.69; 2 Kitan Eleyae (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) 7.76; 3 Twinelle Hopeson (Archbishop Tenison School) 7.76.

200m: 1 Hopeson 24.88; 2 Shauna Thompson (Sale Harriers Manchester) 25.08; 3 Brigid Eades (Newport Harriers) 26.00.

800m: 1 Alexandra Turner (Amber Valley) 2:16.93; 2 Georgia Milton (Mansfield) 2:19.72; 3 Jessica Hicks (Gloucester) 2:19.74.

60m hurdles: 1 Chanel Taite (Brunel Juniors) 9.20; 2 Daniella McGrory (Huntingdonshire) 9.28; 3 Charlotte Maxwell (Exeter) 9.31.

High jump: 1 Klara Abelova (Slovakia) 1.67; 2 Hannah Dickson (Blackpool and Fylde) 1.61; equal 3 Emma Buckett (Winchester) and Chloe Galloway (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) and Jessica Matthews (Blackheath and Bromley) 1.61.

Long jump: 1 Lisa Sabel (Sale Harriers Manchester) 5.38; 2 Jill Brooks (Falkirk Victoria) 5.12; 3 Matthews 5.07.

Shot: 1 Clare FitzGerald (Ireland) 12.31; 2 Laura Baker (Wigan and District) 10.25; 3 Toni Wells (Swansea) 10.06.

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