England Athletics Indoor Championships

Weekend, 25-26 February 2017

The national indoor championships at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport saw junior Blue Vests appear on the track again. These are the biggest indoor championships of the year and the elite of British Athletics take part.

Julia Winogrodzka moved up an age-group from her usual U13 to compete as an U15 in the long jump, having easily reached the qualifying standard set. Not to be overawed she leapt 5.13m – only 8cm outside her PB. It saw her finish eighth – a fantastic result against girls up to two years her senior.

Personal Bests were also came thick and fast in the 60m. Ben To, competing in his first Nationals having set a new club record at the Northern championships, didn’t disappoint. He lowered his PB at each stage of the competition, clocking 7.52s in the heats, 7.42s in the semi-final and 7.41s in the final – all were new club records. He finished a brilliant seventh overall and will look forward to setting new milestones in the summer.

Eniola Adedotun was also in fine form – another U15 Bolton debutant, he continued to make massive improvements by running 7.67 seconds in his heat to register a huge PB. His semi-final performance saw him finish eighth in 7.74 seconds.

Taiwo Taiwo (U17) was hoping to break 8 seconds for the first time. In her heat, she came third in a new PB of 7.89s and bettered it with 7.86s in her semi-final, only to finish an agonising fourth and just miss out on a place in the final.

Hannah Kelly lined up in the 60m having won gold at the Northerns and with high hopes of pushing for a medal. However, she knew the competition would be tough with all of the elite sprinters in attendance. She opened up in the heat, finishing second, although easing down in yet another PB of 7.69. Lining up in the SF against last year’s national 100m winner, Amy Hunt, she exploded from the start. Both were matched equally for the first 40m before Amy pulled away; Hannah clocked yet another PB in 7.63s but the winner’s 7.50s set a new championship record. Unfortunately, the final didn’t go as smoothly as planned. After an issue with her blocks, Hannah struggled to get away at the start and, although running 7.72s, she finished sixth. Most athletes would be ecstatic with this placing in a national championships, but for Hannah, it was below where she wanted to finish.

Both Hannah and Taiwo returned to Sheffield on the Sunday to compete in the U17’s 200m. Taiwo ran strongly in her heat, with 25.58s to qualify for the SF, whereupon 25.49s was registered – just outside her outdoor PB. She ran much quicker than at the Northern championships and it gives an indication that close to 25.0 seconds in the summer is an achievable aim.

Hannah lined up in her favoured 200m in heat 5 against the current UK number 1, Ella Wansell. She breezed past her and, with 30m to go, eased down to finish at a jog in 25.28 seconds. In her semi-final, she was in lane 4 with the current 300m national champion and fellow England international Amber Anning in the lane outside. Once again, Hannah’s start was perfect and by 100m she was ahead. Coming off the last bend she still had a lead but the strength of the 300m athlete showed and Hannah was pipped on the line by 0.03 seconds. However, Hannah clocked a huge new PB and new club record of 24.50s to rank her as the country’s number 2, behind Amber. Unfortunately that was where the day ended – Hannah felt a problem in her lower back and, rather than risk further injury, decided to withdraw from the final. This showed her growing maturity and race knowledge. The final was won in 24.72 seconds, which Hannah could easily have bettered.

Les Hall, who coaches all of the athletes that competed this weekend, couldn’t have been prouder. “Hannah is now moving away from being an amazing national athlete to something more. The qualifying standard for this year’s Youth Commonwealth Games is 24.3 seconds, and it is well within her capabilities.”

All of Les’s sprinters are now looking forward to getting back to some hard training and are hoping to set more PBs in the summer.

Northern Athletics Indoor Championships

Sunday, 5th February 2017

Four junior Blue Vests travelled to Sheffield today to compete in the Northern Athletics U15/U13 Indoor Championships.

The outstanding performance came from Julia Winogrodzka winning gold in the U13 girls’ Long Jump. After a shaky start with the High Jump, where she finished fourth with 1.30m (10cm shy from her PB), she smashed the Long Jump with a 5.21m leap, breaking her PB and the Championship’s Best Performance by 57cm! It was an amazing performance given she had to receive medical treatment in the warm-up for a turned ankle. She ended the day with a fifth place in the 60m final, clocking 8.67s, following 8.66s in the heats and a quicker 8.62s in the semi-final.

Ben To, Eniola Adedotun and Porscha Johnson all made their regional debuts, with the 60m sprint being the event of choice. U13 Porscha, a talented multi-eventer, breezed through her heat in a new PB of 8.89s. She repeated her fantastic start in her semi-final and finished a creditable fifth in 9.02s.

For the U15 boys, both Ben and Eniola had high hopes of progressing through their heats. Neither was disappointed and Eniola came fourth in a new PB of 7.89s. Ben ran a perfect race and not only smashed his PB, but also broke the club record in 7.55 seconds. In the semi-finals, Eniola had a tough lane draw but still managed to finish sixth, whilst Ben ran a majestic, determined race to finish second and qualify for the final. Lining up in lane 2 against strong opposition from Sale and Trafford, he got a perfect start and powered up the straight. With a few metres to go he was holding on for bronze, but a late surge from Lewis Cant of Blaydon Harriers saw Ben finish an agonising fourth, missing out on a medal by only 0.03 seconds. However, some small consolation was that he once again broke the club record, running 7.52 seconds.

Coach Les Hall was a happy man, beaming “Valuable experience was gained by all the athletes, whilst Julia’s record-breaking leap was simply superb!”



Elsewhere, U15 Louie Johnson was among several Bolton juniors that competed in the Greater Manchester Schools’ Cross Country Champs, finishing fifth.


Sheffield Festival Indoor Open

Sunday, 29th January 2017

hk0117asm hk0117bsmHarvey Kenny and Cloe Bentley-Hughes, two of Bolton’s promising U11 athletes, attended the Sheffield Festival Indoor Open at the English Institute of Sport arena today, with great results from their three events.

Harvey was first up, competing in the 800m race. With a super fast first lap of 32 seconds, he maintained the lead to win gold with an impressive time of 2:39.37. That he missed out on an U13 ranking (for athletes two years his senior) by just 1.3 seconds emphasises how good it was. He went on to collect another two golds, winning in the 60m (9.62s) and long jump. The leap was another personal best of 3.97m and again just missed out on an U13 ranking by a mere 3cm.

Cloe Bentley-Hughes also proudly represented Bolton, running well in the 60m sprint; she narrowly missed out on bronze with a time of 9.71s, clocked 34.07s for 200m and leapt 2.80m in the Long Jump.


Northern XC Championships

Saturday, 28th January 2017

DSC_0285smDSC_0330smKnowsley Safari Park hosted the Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships, with Blue Vests appearing across the age ranges:

85/179 Madeleine Erzan-Essien 0:18:40
135/179 Molly Philbin 0:20:12

59/98 Rachel Bailey 0:23:45

51/76 Declan Toomey 0:31:17
DSC_0315smDSC_0323sm52/55 Olivia Kearney 0:28:38
53/55 Mercedes Mercer 0:29:16

Senior Women
81/360 Nicola Cartridge 0:37:55

Senior Men
39/676 Karl Darcy 0:45:04
86/676 Jonothan Kay 0:47:37
299/676 Rhys Francis 0:55:34


Awaiting full report.



Greater Manchester Sportshall Champs

Sunday, 22nd January 2017

IMG_1413aThe Greater Manchester County Championships for the Sportshall multi-event took place at SportCity in Manchester today with a strong contingent of Blue Vests.

Both the U11 teams returned with silverware for the 4×2 lap relay race, with the girls of Vesta Drevinskaite, Isobel Hall, Poppy Dunne and Idowu Taiwo collecting bronze and boys of Harvey Kenny, Vincent Worthington, Herbie Kay and Jack Kingdom collecting gold.

Individual medallists for the U11s included Sam Hazelwood’s speed bounce (gold), Jack Kingdom’s one lap sprint (bronze) and Poppy Dunne’s standing long jump (gold). For the U13s, Luke Greenhalgh collected silver medals in both the shot put and speed bounce.





Saturday, 21st January 2017

Molly Philbin’s 18:05 was 14th in the U15s whilst Karl Darcy collected gold of the 164 field with 37:49.


It follows Darcy’s fourth place in 33:33 at Burnley’s Townley Park in the Mid-Lancs XC last weekend.