South of England Combined Events Oxford

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Bracknell Athletes pick up both Southern and Berkshire Medals

It was always going to be a big ask for our combined athletes in this Year's South OF England Combined events championships at Horspath Athletics Track Oxford last weekend to see if they could repeat the success they had last season in perfect weather conditions.   Despite the weather deteriorating early on the Saturday morning  Ben Russell, Sam Russell, Connie McCafferty and Yasmin Grosvenor competing at these championships for the first time, not only did they have the rain to contend with but a fairly strong head wind.  Used to training in all conditions our athletes were as ever up for the challenge.  So many memorable performances to mention these are just a few from day 1:  Ben Russell got his best ever start in the 100 metres with nothing separating the athletes at the finish Ben clocked a time of 12.20 deprived of a pb by the head wind.  Brother Sam with the rain coming down the high jump bed soaking wet, the fan covered in water, athletes not competing and spectators taking cover under their umbrella’s, Sam produced probably one of the best performances by any athlete in any age group  in the High Jump confidently clearing 1.59 . It wasn’t just the height but the manor in which it came, jumping with so much confidence.  Connie McCafferty in her last event of day 1 produced another one of those beautiful runs we are so used of seeing from her in the 200 metres. Been drawn on one of the inside lanes running against athletes all around her with similar BPs Connie got away with the gun never took her foot off the pedal from start to finish in 2nd place and time of  26.63 sec . 

Yasmin Grosvenor competining in the under 15 girls Penthalon  which was held on Saturday, started well in the hurdles then proved to all the athletes that despite conditions she had come to do a job. Producing national standard performances and winning both the Long Jump with a jump of 5.20m and  the Shot throwing 11.20 nearly 70 cm further than her nearest competitors she moved into lead after 3 events.  It was clear with her performances in both HJ and 800 metres that she was not about to give it up. Despite being off full training for several weeks due to injury she destroyed her closest rivals in running a very hard first lap giving them to much to do a lap 2. Yasmin finished the day as the South of England under 15 Penthalon Champion winning with a points score of 2965 not only a new pb by over 300 points a new club record. 

Sadly Ben Russell had to pull out of the men’s Decathlon after event 3 the Shot where after producing one his best putts, rolled in his ankle on the stop board.  Although very disappointed Ben new he had made the right decision thinking long term.

Sam and Connie and now Ben back as part of the support team on day 2 with sun shining and the sky looking very settled were back to pick up from where they left off.

Connie after jumping 4.55 metre’s in the Long Jump, moved onto the Javelin which is one her strongest events and today was going to no different. Connie completely dominated the competition destroying her competitors with her first throw of 32.42, followed by 2 more 30 metre throws her most consistent sequence in any competition. Needless to say Connie was a clear winning beating her nearest rival by over 6 metres.  Connie took this into the 800 where she ran a time of 2.37.57 mins.  Connie ended the weekend with a well-earned points total of 3977, and a well-deserved 5th place in the South of England Championship’s as well as becomming the Berkshire Under 17 Women’s Hepthalon Champion 

Sam put in strong performances in both the 110 hurdles, and Discus adding to the points from day one where he was lying in 3rd place in the Southern Champs. Proved again in the Pole Vault that with a little extra work could be a strong event for him. Vaulting better than ever ended with 2.40 metre. Despite not throwing as far as he would like in the Javelin. Sam went into the 1500 metres wanting to break the 5 minute barrier knowing what work he has been doing in training, knew what lap times he needed Sam went out hard from start running a blistering first lap, had another good lap 2 and 3, by lap 4 your running on reserves Sam had run one of his best ever 1500 metres ending with a time a few 10ths outside his pb 5.01.29 mins. A great effort by a great athlete who I am confident will run under 5 minutes in the very near future. 

Sam ended the weekend with 4246 points with meant he collected the South of England Bronze medal and the Berkshire Gold in the Under 20 Men’s Decathlon in his first year as under 20. Quite an acheivement.

I feel sure both Connie and Sam will take all the positives from this weekend and build on these in their preparation for the English Schools Combined Championships in Boston in September, where they will be joined by Charlie Ashdown Taylor and Joel Cable.

As well as been another great weekend of competition for our athlete’s it was also a weekend when they met 2 legends of the sport from the past Daley Thompson who was there supporting his son and David Hemery, who there with his son who coaches one of the competitors.

As well as so many Technical Officials being very complimentary in the way you all thank officials and in the manner in which you conduct yourself’s over the weekend.

Well done everyone there are many positive’s to build on, another weekend very proud to be a member of Bracknell Athletics Club.

Andy Hughes

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