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Highlights from CAU Inter Counties - UPDATED
30 May 2006 15:02

The CAU Inter Counties Championships on Sunday 28 and Bank Holiday Monday 29 May forming part of the UK Challenge series, produced some impressive performances from some of Britain’s top junior athletes aiming for this summer’s World Junior Championships in blustery conditions at Bedford stadium.

World Youth Silver medallist Alex Nelson (City of Stoke AC), now 18, ran an impressive 200m to take the title in 21.05 seconds ahead of Rikki Fifton (Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets) and Rion Pierre (WSE&H), despite a windspeed of – 2.0m/s. His time was well inside the World Junior Championships qualifying standard of 21.15 seconds.

An even younger bright sprinting prospect, 17 year old Gerald Phiri (City of Sheffield AC) took the honours in the Men’s 100m final, dipping through the line in 10.24 seconds boosted by an illegal wind of + 4.8 m/s. Ryan Moseley (Shaftesbury Barnet) took second place in 10.27 seconds and Paul Brizzel representing Northern Ireland was third in 10.36 seconds. Phiri’s time of 10.24 seconds equated to a points score of 212, the highest by a male athlete in the match. European Junior 100m Champion Craig Pickering, pulled out of the 100m final after finishing third in both his heat and semi final suffering from a knee problem.

In the women’s sprints, Jeanette Kwakye (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) won the battle for the 200m title with Kadi-Ann Thomas (Milton Keynes), winning in a time of 23.66 seconds. The next day, Kadi-Ann Thomas lined up again in the 100m final and went one better pulling clear of Susan Deacon (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) to take victory in 11.43 seconds. Her time translated to a UK Challenge points score of 216, the highest of the meeting, to earn the athlete of the match award.

Gemma Bennett representing Essex, who just missed out on the final at last summer’s European Under 23 Championships in Germany executed a brilliant personal best in the women’s 100m hurdles final. Her time of 13.18 seconds, was inside the European Championships Development standard and not far outside the Elite standard set by UK Athletics (13.00).  The windspeed was just inside the legal limit at + 1.9 m/s, as Sara McGreavy (Sale) took second in 13.32 seconds and Louise Hazel (Peterborough) was third in 13.45 seconds.

In the Men’s sprint hurdles, former decathlete William Sharman (Belgrave Harriers) reaped the rewards of focussing on one event since his shoulder operation hampered his multi-eventing ability and took the Championship title in 13.85 seconds, ahead of Duncan Malins (Newham & Essex Baegles) who recorded 13.9 seconds, however the wind speed read +2.6m/s. Sharman’s performance gave him 201 points and added to his previous performances in the UK Challenge events for May, made him the first winner of the Monthly Award for most points scored in the UK Challenge. 

Sam Ellis (Barnsley AC) returned to competitive action to retain his title in the Men’s 800m, ahead of 17 year old James Brewer representing Gloucestershire. Ellis finished in a time of 1:52.1 and Brewer was second in 1:52.8. Nick McCormick (Morpeth Harriers) won the Men’s Mile comfortably in 4:04.1, as he looks to build on the successful summer that culminated in his first major championships in 2005.

In the women’s 1500m final, Emily Pidgeon (Gloucester AC) who turns 17 this week edged out Jessica Sparke (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies), crossing the line in 4:24.22, ahead of the rest of the field that included Faye Fullerton, Tina Brown and Hayley Yelling.

Pidgeon was delighted to make up for the disappointment of falling at the water jump during the 3,000m steeplechase a week earlier at the Loughborough International. Jessica Sparke was second in 4:24.46 and Laura O’Dell was third in 4:25.27. In the Women’s steeplechase, Liz Yelling was expected to make her chase debut but was forced to pull out with an injury problem sustained during the week. Another newcomer to the event, Inter Counties Cross Country Champion Hatti Dean (Radley AC) pulled clear of the field to win in 6:44.90.

In the field, four women jumped beyond 13 metres in the triple jump in a closely fought contest, that finished with Nadia Williams (Shaftesbury Barnet) jumping a wind assisted (+3.1) 13.34m in the last round to seal the title. Karlene Turner (WSE&H) finished second with a best of 13.31m and Becky White (Sale Harriers) was third with 13.19m.  In the long jump, Gillian Cooke (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) took first place with a best of 6.21m, just two centimetres further than Louise Bloor and Becky White secured another Bronze medal with 6.07m.

Kara Nwidobie-Sharp (Blackpool) won the Women’s discus competition by over 4 metres (55.39m) to score 182 in the UK Challenge and Joanne Duncan (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies), reigning UK Challenge Champion won the Shot by another impressive margin, with a personal best performance of 17.11m

Another UK Challenge Champion Leigh Smith (Birchfield Harriers) leapt out to 7.80m to secure the Inter Counties long jump title, assisted by a + 4.7m/s wind. Nick Thomas (Newham & Essex Beagles) won the triple jump with a best of 16.20m and Julian Golley (WSE&H) finished second with 15.96m, both assisted by a windspeed just under 3 m/s.

The Men’s Javelin was won by Michael Allen (Northern Ireland) with a best of 72.78m, 18 year old James Campbell (Cheltenham) had to settle for fourth place with 69.51m beyond the qualifying standard set for the IAAF World Junior Championships, that he beat with three strong throws last weekend at the Loughborough International. Another 18 year old, Jamie Williamson (Sheffield) was in fine form, winning the shot with a best of 17.04m, less than half a metre shy of the standard required for the World Junior Championships.

In the men's 5km walk, Nick Ball stopped the clock in 11:50.44, just 0.89s ahead of Dominic King, to establish a new British best for the distance.

To view the UK Challenge photo gallery with images from Bedford click here. For the full results from the Inter Counties click here.

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