2017 England Athletics Under 15’s & Under 17’s Track & Field Championships
Bedford International Stadium
Saturday 26th – Sunday 27th August
Seven of Kingston upon Hull AC’s outstanding juniors spent the weekend of the 26th and 27th of August at the England Athletics track & field championships which as usual were staged in the south of England at the Bedford International stadium, and three of the young athletes were making their debut appearance at a national championship meeting. Every one of them left nothing in the tank and there were some very impressive performances on the toughest of stages competing against the best young athletes from every part of England.
The biggest of the performances came on the Sunday the second day of the championship meeting where once again under 15 athlete Ben Copley showed his strength, his class and his supreme technique. He competed in both the discus and the javelin finals winning both of them. In the 12 man discus final the top three throwers in the UK were locked in competition, Ben’s best throw of the day one of 47.18 metres was enough to see off his two main challengers Harry Davies of Neath who threw a new PB of 46.76 metres and Danny Gracie of Annan whose best effort was 42.00 metres. The javelin final was another extremely tight affair where the first six athletes all threw in excess of 50 metres Ben threw a huge new PB of 55.74 metres 3.46 metres further than his previous best to take a second gold medal of the championships with his nearest challenger Ivo Pitts of Crawley also launching a new PB of 54.57 metres for the silver medal.
Ben went through an awful time during the winter struggling with injuries and during those dark days he could not even start to imagine the brilliant track & field season that lay ahead for him. At Mays County championships he won triple gold’s in shot, discus and javelin and the same month saw him winning the Loughborough javelin carnival and June brought him three more gold medals at the County Schools championships. The month of July took him to the prestigious English Schools championships in Birmingham where all athletes compete in just one event he won the discus title and at Augusts Northern championships he won the javelin and discus gold medals and was also the silver medallist in the shot. Just seven days later at the National championships he won the England athletics javelin and discus titles.
Also in the under 15’s Alanah Thoresby was making her debut appearance at the National track & field championships following on from her debut this February at the national indoor event in Sheffield where she had taken 8th place in the high jump final. She too has enjoyed a good year on the competitive circuit she was in action in the English Schools high jump final and took silver medal at the Northern championships. Alanah is also in her first competitive year as a pentathlete and she took a creditable 6th place finish at the recent North East Schools combined events championships where she competed in a field of 22 athletes. The Northern silver medallist made her debut in EA Championships to finish 6th in the under 15 girls high jump with a jump of 1.51metres to round off an outstanding season which has seen her improve her PB from 1.45m to 1.59m
Hammer thrower Shaun Kerry was last year’s silver medallist at under 15 and 2017 has seen him make the move up to the under 17 age category where he is competing against throwers who are a year older than himself and have more experience. Shaun has had another good season where he has been in the mix for the medals at all the championship meetings starting with Januarys Northern indoor championships where he took the bronze medal in the shot, he made a clean sweep of the hammer, shot and javelin titles at the County championships and for the third year running he made the County team for the English Schools championships where he was the hammer bronze medallist and the weekend before this national event he won his third consecutive Northern hammer title. At Bedford he was in contention right through the final and he pulled out a very good throw of 60.00 metres with the 5 Kilogram hammer to take a creditable 4th place finish.
Heptathlete Venus Morgan got her 2017 campaign off to an excellent start at the first major meeting of the year winning the bronze medal at the Northern indoor championships in the under 17 women’s 60 metre hurdles final at the EIS stadium in Sheffield. March saw her back at the EIS stadium for the England and the Northern combined events championships where she was Northern silver medallist and finished in 6th place in the England championships where she competed in a field of 49 athletes. Another silver medal was won at Junes North East schools combined events at Middlesbrough. The Northern track & field championships brought her another silver medal in the 80 metre hurdles. This was Venus’s third appearance at the national championships and she had probably her best run of the season to finish 3rd in her heat of u17 80m hurdles in 11.73 sec running into a slight headwind. She couldn’t quite repeat this in the semi-final narrowly missing out on qualifying for the final recording 11.89. The Northern heptathlon silver medallist now goes back into training for the English Schools’ combined events championships in Boston, Lincolnshire on the 16th and 17th of September.
Libby Wheeler continued to perform well at top level finishing 5th in the under 17 women’s triple jump. Her best jump of 11.59m left her only 11cm short of a medal. Following her win in the previous week’s Northern championship and a 4th place finish at the English Schools Champs in July Libby will be looking for another big performance when representing England North in the forthcoming UK School Games. Prior to the triple jump Libby was disappointed with her performance in the long jump where she was placed 12th with a jump of 5.22m, knowing that the bronze medal was within her grasp, being won with a distance 5cm below her lifetime best.
Adam Coles is another athlete who made a big impression at Januarys Northern indoor championship meeting taking the bronze medal in the under 17 men’s 60 metre hurdles and at the same meeting he was a finalist in the 60 metre sprints. He was a 100 metre hurdles finalist at July’s English schools championships. The reigning Northern champion contested the under 17 men’s 100m hurdles in his first trip to the EA Champs. In a very strong field Adam finished 4th in his heat in 14.15 sec failing to reach the final but gaining more experience of high level competition before he makes the transition to the under 20 age group.
Over the last two seasons Becky Chivers has been making good progress in the javelin event, she was the 2016 Northern champion at under 15 and this year she has moved up for her first year in the under 17 age group where she is now throwing the heavier 600 gram javelin. She is also a good hurdler and middle distance runner and has represented the County this year in both cross country and track & field competitions. In the Northern championships at the Leigh Sports Village she took 4th place in the javelin final missing the bronze medal by an agonising one centimetre. Becky was another debutant at these championships and she produced an outstanding personal best of 37.81 metres placing her 6th in her first year in the under 17 age group, finishing ahead of a number of more fancied competitors.