Top Bolton athletes Hannah Kelly and Jonny Kay headed across the Pennines to compete at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield in the Northern Indoor Athletics Championships. Both are competing at the British Championships in February and are hoping performances this winter may get them a senior international vest in the coming weeks. Both had coaches and family members eagerly cheering them on.
First up was Hannah in the senior women’s 400m under the watchful eye of her coach Les Hall. She breezed through the heat and headed into the final as firm favourite. She blasted off from the gun and flew through the first 200m and then controlled the rest of the race to win by 10m in a time of 54.91 seconds to put her at the top of the UK rankings. She commented “I’m really happy with my performance at the weekend as it was my first 400m of the season and I ran an indoor 400m PB. It shows that training is going well and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. I have the British Championships on the 26th February and I am hoping to get closer to my outdoor 400m PB of 54.04”.
Jonny Kay lined up in the senior men’s 1500m. After last week’s race where he got the qualifying time for the British Championships this race was all about retaining the 1500m title. From the start Jonny put himself in the ideal position on the shoulder of the race leader. Like a seasoned pro he waited until 150m to go and kicked away from the field to take gold.
Jonny also entered the senior men’s 800m on Sunday and after cruising through his heat in first place he took his place on the start line for the final against three real 800m speed merchants. He lost out in what turned out to be a last lap dash for the line finishing just outside the medals in fourth place.
Positive as ever Kay summed up his weekend. “The 1500 was a good race against a good standard. I thought my main threat was Alfie Manthorpe from Sheffield who had ran British Championship 3000m standard the week before. We started off really slow in the final but I kicked away from 150m out. Alfie followed me but I had saved another gear and felt confident I could hold him off and so it proved. Myself and coach Dave Shaw had decided to enter both the 1500m and 800m. Obviously the 1500m is my flagship event but I wanted to ready myself for multiple races at one event. The 800m semi was comfortable. The final was a totally different proposition and I was up against three specialist speed merchants. It turned into a last lap sprint and I didn’t quite have the speed. I still came up with a 26 second last lap though which showed I do have some speed there ! Two days rest now and then training is aimed at the British Championships in February.”
Also in the women’s 400m, medical student Olivia Kimbowa, getting some race practise in before the British University championships, ran a solid race finishing third in her heat and missed out on the final by one place. The Harriers had one competitor in the 200m, U17 Poppy Dunne, racing hard she came third in her heat in a time of 29.02 seconds.
Three Bolton athletes took part in the 60m. Jake Harwood and Mark Lintott both competed in the U17 male competition and both easily qualified for the semi- finals. In the first semi Jake Harwood came 4th and broke his PB qualifying for his first regional final. In the second semi- final younger athlete Mark recovered from a slow start but powered through the field to also finish 4th but agonisingly missed out on the final by 0.001 of a second. Jake once again broke his PB in the final and finished in a fantastic 7th place.
In the senior men’s 60m Ben To who was recovering from illness made his way into the semi- final but despite running a PB of 7.13 seconds was another Harrier who just missed out on a final this time by 0.02 seconds. Ben is another young Harrier looking forward to the British University Championships where he will compete in the 60m for his University.