EA Indoor Championships U15/17/20, Sheffield – 13/14 Feb 2016


You can be a big fish in a small pond for your athletic career, but the only people who will remember are you and your Mum/Dad! If your going to progress and go up the rankings you have to test yourself against the best the UK has to offer. A strong contingent of Radley athletes set off for Sheffield to perform in the individual indoor event championships. At stake would be gaining great experience, personal bests, final placings, potential medals and an opportunity to be that big fish.

Starting the ball rolling was newcomer Holly Griffiths-Brown (U15) in her first national competition. The timetable was not kind as Holly had both her high jump and 60mts at the same time. With the bar set at 1.40mts as a compulsory opening height Holly, whose pb is only 1.50mts, failed her first attempt. She was then escorted to her 60mt run. A false start set the nerves jangling but she managed to get away at the second attempt to come within a few hundredths of her pb finishing in 8.67sec and setting a seasons best. Back to the high jump she was allowed to take her second attempt at 1.40mts however she did not have time to change back into her high jump shoes and duly failed to clear the bar. Her 3rd attempt was a great clearance and still without the right spikes. These had been left at the 60mts! She went on to clear 1.45mts again at the 3rd attempt and that was her final result. 10th in the UK, lots of experience and a lesson in shoe management!!

The two final field events of the first days action saw Petrina Chantler Edmond (U17) and Alice Hopkins (U20) in their respective finals of shot and long jump. Alice was first up having the best and most consistent series of jumps of any of her competitions, indoor or out, ever! 6 jumps all spotted and giving the opposition something to think about. Whilst not yet competent in the newly rehearsed 1 1/2 hitch kick she produced a new indoor PB of 5.62mts with all jumps being over 5.32mts. This was good enough for 5th place overall and showed when the technique gets grooved in that there is more to come. Petrina was up for re-establishing her position as an English Schools contender by reaching the 11mt qualifying mark at the first attempt. She was just shy of this with her 10.63mts which was good enough for 14th place overall, and as a good season opener left her in know doubt that the 11mt mark was well within her compass.

On the track Matthew Coleman (u17) showed great maturity finishing well in his 400mt semi final. The final was on the Sunday but 2nd place in the semi in a time of 51.97sec certainly showed he was there to challenge in the final.

Sunday was hurdles day! However, it started off with Luisa Chantler Edmond (u20) renewing her rivalry with the UK no 1 and no 2 – both of whom she had been behind in the southern champs in January. Priority for the day then was a new Pb and an attempt at 12mts was on! The circle proved extremely slippy and so Luisa had to settle for 11.23mts and a 6th place final finish – more experience gained and a firm belief that, that 12mt mark was attainable.

And so the sequence of hurdle races started. First up was Petrina. Her start has been holding her back from breaking the 10sec barrier. Despite a better effort in her heat she was left with 10.07sec and just missed out on breaking the 10 sec mark again. Alice was next and she was attempting to break the 9sec barrier. Her semi was loaded but she came through to reach the final as a fast loser in a seasons best 9.12sec. The final was going to be tough and so it proved as she smashed the first hurdle and had to settle for 8th place, and a very sore knee – ouch! Oliver Stacey (U17) was the final runner to take on the UK best. He had been doing great training times and fresh from setting a new club record in the Southern Indoors, hopes of a final place were high. A fantastic start from lane 8 saw high lead through the early part of the race but as he smashed hurdle 4 he lost momentum and finished in 4th place just missing a place in the final finishing 10th overall. He did however set yet another pb and club record time of 8.55sec = not all bad news although who knows what that time might have been? Finally coming back for his final in the 400mts Matthew started well and looked ready to make a move after staying well in contention on the first lap, however the field fell into an Indian file finish with 100mts to go and he finished 6th.

Overall our big fish swam well! They showed they can compete on the big stage and are up there with the very best in the country – no medals this time but watch this space, or should I say pond!

Pete O’Keefe