Northern Athletics Indoor Championships

Weekend, 13-14 January 2018

Every championship has a silver lining, or so it seemed at this year’s Northern Athletics U17/U20/Senior Indoor Championships. Taking place at the English Institute of Sport, Bolton United Harriers had a strong contingent who made the long journey to Sheffield.

The first Harrier to win a medal was U17 long jump star Lydia Hodgson. Competing for the first time at the Northern Indoors, she leapt to a new PB of 5.42m to take a well deserved silver medal. This puts her seventh in the national rankings for 2018 so far.

This was quickly followed by Olivia Kimbowa, who was competing in the U17 300m. She lined up in the semi-final with high hopes of making the final. She ran the perfect race and stormed around the final bend to win in style. She was determined to perform at her best in the final, but with 100m to go she was looking down and out in fifth place. However, a storming finish saw her move through the field to take a well deserved bronze medal.

Georgia Lever decided to compete in the triple jump rather than her usual long jump. In only her fifth TJ competition, she added to Bolton’s medal haul with another silver medal, taking second with her last jump of 11.38m.

The final medal of the Saturday was won by sprint sensation Hannah Kelly. Renowned for her 200m running, she lined up against the best 60m runners in the North of England. Qualification for the final was never in doubt but there were five athletes realistically chasing the three medals. As ever, Hannah’s acceleration was fantastic and she was neck and neck with the leaders going into the last few metres. She stormed to second place in a season’s best time of 7.66 seconds to gain another silver medal for the Harriers.

There were three other male Bolton sprinters competing in the 60m. U20 Josh Povey ran a PB in his semi-final to finish fifth, whilst Kehinde Taiwo also ran 7.60s for a new PB in the U17 60m for sixth place in his heat. Ben To also competed in the u17 60m. He couldn’t repeat his PB of 7.40 seconds set the week before at Sportcity but still ran this time close. He came a magnificent fourth in his semi-final, recording a time of 7.45 seconds to narrowly miss out on a place in the final.

The Sunday brought a host of different events and this gave an opportunity to two of our long distance track stars. Katie Oakley lined up in the senior women’s 3000m still recovering from a heavy cold. She came an agonising fourth, narrowly missing out on a medal but there was some good news as she ran more than a minute quicker than her previous fastest time.

Jonny Kay competed in the equivalent men’s event. He ran a perfectly paced race and he reeled in the leading athletes in the closing laps. With 100m to go, he was fourth but put in a big sprint finish to edge into third. Coming off the last bend, he saw a gap on the inside and kicked to take yet another silver medal.

Hannah Kelly also competed in the U20 women’s 200m – her favoured event. It was always going to be tough as she was racing against Georgina Adam, fellow England international and winner of the previous days 60m. Coming off the last bend Hannah and Georgina were side by side but the Blue Vest wasn’t able to take the title. However, she ran yet another season’s best and won the clubs fifth silver medal of the weekend in a time of 24.60 seconds.

Hannah had received a massive boost before the championships. Despite only just moving up to the U20 age group she has been invited to compete at this year’s British senior indoor championships in Birmingham. She will be up against the very best female athletes in the country and may line up against the likes of Dina Asher-Smith.