U15/U17 South of England Championships – Crystal Palace 16/17 August

Some days you wish you had pulled the duvet back over your head, turned the alarm off and gone back to sleep. THIS WAS NOT ONE OF THOSE DAYS!!

Championships are why you slog it out on the cold and wet and windy track all winter, in the hope that you can peak at the right time, put yourself against tough competition and come away with a new PB or even a medal or two.

With the Nationals only two weeks away it was important to have some good performances to give the girls confidence. They stepped up to the mark and all three had PBs and some were so good that medals ensued!

Petrina Chantler Edmond had threatened a substantial move in her long jump for some weeks. She was duly rewarded on the Saturday with a massive 20cm improvement moving to 4.63mts.

Sunday started wet and miserable as Luisa Chantler Edmond headed for the shot to try and improve on the mark she set way back in April. With the English Schools Champion to contend with Luisa duly delivered. 12.83mts moved her to 11th in the country and the southern silver medal. And so on to the discus to chase a UKA top ten place – she had been looking to improve her 37.61mts to over 38.50 in order to achieve a standard however not satisfied with this she threw 39.34 to go 7th in the UK. This against the UK numbers 3 and 4 meant that she took home the bronze.

Alice Hopkins has embraced a whole lot of differing events this year but seems to have found one she is starting to really excel at. Lying 33rd in the country with 5.32mts in the Long Jump it seemed unrealistic to think of a medal but a PB was more than possible as her new shortened stride came into play. A first round jump of 5.45mts made the crowd sit up. She laid 2nd as the second round began and only 2cm off the lead. The leader jumped an impressive 5.67mts and another athlete jumped 5.47mts pushing Alice into bronze. Her sequence of jumps would see her better her original PB 3 times and so in round 3 she launched herself to a tremendous 5.53mts briefly snatching 2nd spot before being beaten by a 5.59mts – but a tremendous bronze medal and a huge leap forward up the UK rankings to 16th.

All in all perhaps not the day to snuggle between the sheets again – a lesson for us all in grit and determination! And so onto the Nationals ….surely not more PBs??

Pete O’Keefe