David Bolarinwa (c) wins the 100m men's at the UK U20 Championships & World Trials at Bedford (Getty Images) © Copyright
Day two (17) rewarded the crowd that packed the Stadium with a series of fantastic performances that included a British Junior record and several marks beating the IAAF World Junior Championships - Barcelona 2012 qualifying Standard.
Pole vaulter Katie Byres set a new Under 20 Record with a 4.36m leap – an improvement of 16cm over her previous outdoor best and enough to get the Sale Harriers Manchester athlete on the plane to Barcelona. The event, originally scheduled for yesterday but postponed due to the strong crosswinds, saw no challenge to Byres’s domination, with main rival Lucy Bryan not taking part; both athletes, however, had already achieved the qualifying standard and look set to compete in the World Championships in July.
While Byres’s was arguably the performance of the day, several other athletes made the selectors take note, and none caused a bigger uproar than Joshua Street: the South London Harrier choose the Trials to smash through the 200m standard, clocking an impressive 20.90 that hands him a place in the team – his new PB almost half a second faster than his previous best.
"I had already run 21s three times this season and I really wanted to break that barrier – today I have done it," said an incredibly pleased Street, while receiving the congratulations from his rival Adam Gemili. "I am very pleased of having made the team to Barcelona but I will try to keep it down and focus just on my next races without letting it get me too worked up. The Olympic Trials are next week and that’s what I’ll be thinking about now."
With David Bolarinwa and Gemili both having achieved the standard but electing not to compete in the 200m final, Street’s performance – and the guarantee of a place for the World Championships team – mean that some difficult choices await the selectors – but assure everyone else of a strong relay squad, testament to the quality of junior sprinting in the UK at this moment.
There is no doubt, instead, for who is going on the selectors’ list for the 110m Hurdles. A brilliant performance by James Gladman saw the Warrington athlete smash through his previous personal best of 13.63s, setting a new time of 13.50 that went without reply in the final.
Gladman, who trains alongside top athletes like Andy Pozzi and Lawrence Clarke, was delighted with his performance.
"There were perfect conditions and I felt really fast in the race, I had been doing 13.6’s for a while and I knew that when it clicked, I would have run a time like this. There was no better time to do it!"
"I have a race in Mannheim next week, where I will try to get another fast time to build on today’s race and get in good shape to the World Juniors. I know I am capable of these performances, I know I had good times indoors and my training is going really well so I believe I can go even a little bit quicker."
After a commanding win in the 100m, Sophie Papps doubled up to the 200 to deny Dina Asher-Smith for the second day in succession. Papps’s time of 23.48s puts her first in the British 2012 rankings, helping the young sprinter leapfrog Bianca Williams, whose best time in this season is 23.59s.
"All the work I put in training on the 200m finally paid off," were the first words of Papps after crossing the line first. "Dina got a great start and had a really good race, so that pushed me to this time. All the quality in the sprints over the last two days is great for the relay team, once we get to Barcelona, who knows what we can do."
Two 2011 World Youth Championships team members will be reunited in the team for Barcelona as both discus thrower Nick Percy and long jumper Jazmin Sawyer won their event after having achieved the qualifying Standard. Percy put in a stunning performance in his competition, improving his PB on each of his six trials and setting the last three well beyond the distance needed to get him to the World Championships, something he hadn’t done yet coming into the event.
"It’s great to throw this nicely at a competition where all my family has come to watch me, as they don’t really get to see me a lot," said Percy, surrounded by family members in a really jubilant mood. "I am very pleased to have put in some very consistent throwing. With my coach we have been trying some new things, and these were the first throws when we introduced the reverse – I reckon that added easily three metres to my distances. We just need to make a few improvements to a few little things, technically, and we could get to the 60m mark."
"My target before the season was to get to 58m before the end of the year, but I surpassed that today and I need a new target to get me to push a little bit further."
Sawyer won the long jump event and, despite having the relative safety of having already gone past the 6.28m benchmark, cemented her selection by leaping 6.42m, a distance that puts her second in the British rankings behind Katarina Johnson-Thompson. "Quite a big PB, I am really pleased – especially because it’s legal!" Sawyer already has further targets in her eyes: "I even feel I can jump a little bit further, so hopefully, come Barcelona and with some hard work between now and then, I will get there."
Sean Molloy was the winner in a competitive 800m final, while Emily Dudgeon was the women’s winner over the same distance; both athletes already had the qualifying time and their performances today ensure they will get to prove their talent against the world’s best in Barcelona. Joining them and the rest of the team will also be Emelia Gorecka, who was a classy winner in the 3000m with a time of 9:22.11, and Shadine Duquemin who set a new PB in the discus throw to bring her best to 51.31m.
World Junior Championships Team Leader Adam Richardson was pleased with the performances put in by the athletes over the two days of Trials.
"We saw some really competitive championships, especially across a wide range of events – we had a great Junior record by Katie Byres and the races in both sprints for men and women were really of high level."
"Even in the distance events, where the weather conditions did not really help, there were some very promising results which reinforce the belief that we will have a very strong team going to Barcelona."
Day 1 Report
The first day of action saw sprinter Sophie Papps and thrower Sophie McKinna set spectacular new personal bests, which, subject to their formal selection, booked their seats on the plane to Spain.
With the day’s conditions not exactly helpful due to the wind that battered the Stadium, Papps set an impressive time of 11.47s in the 100m final to equal Bianca Williams’s season leading time and win the title. Behind her were impressive performances by Dina Asher-Smith, who finished second in 11.57s, and Welsh Champion Rachel Johncock, third in 11.61s – both PBs and beating the Barcelona Qualifying Standard of 11.65s.
"It was a good race, everyone around me did great and so I am really, really happy about having won it," said Papps after collecting her gold medal.
Coach Neil Dodson was equally satisfied, and thinks there is much more to come from Papps. "The heat was executed perfectly, very controlled and with a quick time. Sophie had a problematic start in the final but we need to give her credit: she didn’t panic, and she recovered and ran a 10.47. What is she going to do when she gets a good start?"
Papps’ coach also expressed satisfaction at how the season is going for the young athlete. "This is the first race Sophie raced without being on the back of a week of hard work. She is peaking at the right time and I am comfortable she is in the right shape to do well in the 200m tomorrow as well."
Earlier in the day, Papps’s namesake Sophie McKinna had shown the Bedford crowd just why she is one of the world’s leading under-20 shot putters by adding a whopping 30cm to her previous PB. The Great Yarmouth athlete improved her previous benchmark of 15.81cm with a title-winning 16.21cm which sets her right in the frame for medal contention in Barcelona – exactly one year after winning silver at the World Youth Championships in Lille.
"I am absolutely amazed by this result," said McKinna. "I knew it was in me and I am so happy I managed to catch that one right."
"I hope to improve my distance even further, especially if I get to compete in Barcelona, and be a medal contender there."
The two Sophies were not the only pre-event favourites to convert expectations into results. The men’s hammer throw competition also delivered, with rankings leader Michael Painter winning the event with a 72.34m throw ahead of rival Nick Miller, whose best throw was 70.16m. For Painter, it is a matter of now looking ahead to the World Junior Championships.
"My main aim is to make the final, I believe that would be a great achievement," said the thrower. "I want to achieve even better distances so it’s a matter of getting my head down in training and working hard for it."
Sprinter David Bolarinwa won the 100m event and is now preparing for a 200m showdown with Adam Gemili tomorrow. With the eagerly expected Adam Gemili, who recently clocked an amazing 10.08, not taking part in the 100m, the task to push Bolarinwa to the line was left to Joshua Street and Chijindu Ujah. In a race that needed the help of the camera to establish a winner, the Newham & Essex Beagles athlete had to battle a fastidious headwind to win in a time of 10.40.
Top ranked Jessica Judd was in dominant form in the 1500m. Electing to sit back in the first part of the race, unlike her usual strategy, the World Youth medallist was able to unleash a powerful finale, leaving the group behind with only Georgia Peel remaining within distance but unable to pose a threat to the Chelmsford talent.
"It felt really different out there, and really windy," were Judd’s first reflections after her successful run. She also commented on her next big day, when she runs against the country’s best in Birmingham. "I really want to make it to the final, but in an Olympic year everyone does – and some great athletes will be competing at the Trials. It’s going to be tough but I am in the best shape of my life, so who knows."
"I really enjoyed the Youth Championships last year and am looking forward to the Junior Championships now. I’m hoping for some PBs come race day – that would be fantastic."
The eagerly anticipated long jump battle between Elliot Safo and Oliver Newport was won by Safo with a leap of 7.51m – 4cm short of the qualifier but not a dampener to the Croydon athlete, who has already jumped 7.65 this season.
UK Athletics for the IAAF