SEAA Indoor Champs U20 Women – Lee Valley, 17 Jan 2016

As a first year u20 women Alice Hopkins and Luisa Chantler Edmond went to this years championships on a bit of a learning curve. Both had older more experienced opposition but undaunted they set about trying to recreate last years medal haul of 3 medals (as u17 athletes). Luisa had set her eyes firstly on both a pb and a Radley club record. After a week of training in freezing conditions when to be honest shot putting was a nightmare she opened with an equal to her pb of 11.56mts. This would have been a new club record (previously 11.07 mts from 2003) had it not been for her 5th round throw of 11.64mts!! The level of completion in the SEAA in the shot is such that Luisa was up against the two girls who both competed for England in the Commonwealth Youth games in Samoa last year. Inevitably she finished 3rd (Bronze) but was content to have achieved her 2 goals on the day. Next target is 12 mts at the Nationals in Feb.

Alice had entered both the 60mt hurdles and the long jump and was looking for pbs in both. The morning started really well and she finished 3rd in her hurdles semi final. 5th ranked for the final with plenty more in the tank it would take a pb to medal. Unfortunately a stumble at the start resulted in a 6th place finish as she jogged over the line in 9.31sec. So off to the Long jump. Her form this year has been good indoor but the stumble in the hurdles had been caused by a weak ankle and as she ran down the runway for her first jump once again the ankle gave way. The competition was well within her compass as the best jump in the first round was a modest 5.44mts. A 5.30mts second round showed she was back in the groove and was good enough for 2nd place. Still the opposition was finding it difficult to perform A great leap in the 3rd round of 5.60mts was enough for the lead and was 15cms ahead of second place. The completion tried hard to catch her and one athlete equalled her jump but was still in second as her other jumps were not as good as Alices’s 2nd counting jump. So to the final round and The first girl to jump set a new target 5.66mts – Alice neede to beat this for gold! A huge leap over 5.85mts was eventually ruled a foul and she had to settle for the silver.

A great day out for both ladies and two medals from their first year in this age group. Competition at the nationals will be tough but you have to be in it to win it!!

Pete O’Keefe