Weekend, 24-25th February 2018
Sheffield once again hosted the 2018 England Athletics national indoor championships for the U15, U17 and U20 age-groups and five of our best junior athletes made the journey to compete. It is testimony to the quality at the club that several other athletes made the decision not to compete and instead chose to focus on the 2018 outdoor season.
First up was Ben To, who was competing at his first U17 national finals. Having just moved up age-groups, it was always going to be tough but he marked his intent in his heat by storming through 60m in a new PB of 7.35 seconds. He duly qualified for the semi-final and ran close to this time, recording 7.39s which unfortunately wasn’t quite fast enough to make the final.
Julia Winogrodzka and Georgia Lever were competing in the Long Jump on the Saturday, although neither came close to their best. U13 Julia finished 12th with a best of 4.91m and U20 Georgia was 17th with 5.07m. Both were a little disappointed but knew they had events on the Sunday and had a chance to make amends.
Georgia next competed in the Triple Jump, which is quickly becoming her favoured event. She had a much better day and came a magnificent 5th with a leap of 11.58m in round 6 – only 10cm behind her PB. Porscha Johnson, in her first national championships, competed in the U15 Girls 60m hurdles. Nerves slightly got the better of her but she still recorded 10.07s to finish 6th in her heat. Porscha had also gained the qualifying standard for the 60m flat, but had decided to concentrate on the hurdles.
Hannah Kelly, competing for the first time since her British Senior Championships exploits, once again raced over 200m. She looked smooth in her heat (1st in 24.62s) and the semi, which she also won in a Season’s Best 24.40s. In the final, she lined up outside her friend and fiercest rival, Georgian Adam, knowing that it would take a mammoth effort to take the title. Silver was never in doubt and coming into the last 30m she was neck and neck with her opponent. It wasn’t quite to be and Georgina won by 0.11 seconds, however Hannah recorded her fastest time ever, 24.22 seconds, to take second. This sets her up nicely to target sub-24 seconds on the outdoor track where times are always quicker. The qualifying standard for this year’s World Junior Championships is 23.70s – it may be a big ask, but there is a possibility of a place on the relay team. Hannah has been invited to be a part of the relay squad but knows that she will need to perform amazingly well early season to stand a chance of selection for the championships. Her reward for second place wasn’t just a silver medal, but she was also selected to compete for England again, this time for the U20s. She will travel to Cardiff this weekend to compete against the best of the home countries in the Welsh International.
Julia Winogrodzka also had a good day. She easily won her 60m hurdles heat in 9.38 seconds to record a massive new PB. In the semi-final she went even faster finishing 3rd in 9.34s, and in the final quicker still to take 4th spot in 9.28s. Although disappointed not to take a medal, she should be very proud as she was the only lower-aged athlete to make the final.
For most athletes this will be the last indoor competition of the indoor season. All will go back to a period of hard training in readiness for the outdoor season.