England International at Sportcity

By Dave Greenwood

The fourth staging of the England International took place on Wednesday at Sport City. Although there is a big event at Birmingham that the top of the elite echelon will aspire to ,it gave an opportunity to some athletes to experience an International event. Teams representing the home nations, GB Juniors, an All stars team and a BAL/UKWAL team were in action. Amongst the All Stars were athletes from Canada, Botswana and France.

Prior to the Adult event there was a 'Community team Relay' event with teams from Sale, Trafford, West Cheshire, Manchester Harriers, Crewe and Nantwich, etc. Sale were the most represented and most successful club with Dave Marsh and Anita Richardson looking after the teams. Winners of the Under 15 events were invited to run again later during the Adult programme against some adult teams of celebs and Fitness First who were a major sponsor. Sale athletes displayed some outstanding running to win most of the events. Sale U15 Girls (Carl Worthington) recorded a time of 49.36

Sale have some high standard athletes, some of whom competed for various of the teams. Congratulations to all those who made the podium. Andy Robertson ran in the guest 100m 10.47and the 100m Final 10.50 as well as running a relay leg. In the Final he was second to the Scottish Sprinter Adam Thomas. Choosing to run the Women's Mile event was a bit of a surprise from Aimee Pratt (Vicente Modahl), which ultimately worked out to be a great choice as her normal steeplechase was completed in the most torrential rain I have ever seen in this country; it rivalled a tropical storm and resulted in the suspension of the event whilst the track and throwing circles were swept of the flood. Aimee took on her race from the start and soon established a healthy lead which she maintained until the finish in a time of 4.38.The announcer introduced Euan Gilchrist (Paul Roden) as only having ever done four 3000m runs. It didn't show as Euan bided his time in a tactical race, until coming off the final bend he made sure of victory with a fine finish to win in 8.32. Jessica Taylor - Jemmet , our top class Pentathlete, won Silver in 200mSprints in 24.37 and ran the third leg of the relay for England. Sean Okome (Keith Hunter) in poor conditions, made the Podium in the Triple Jump coming 3rd with 15.47.Whilst Raymond Being went one better in second in the Long Jump. Returning from a long absence having been outstanding as a junior, Clovis Asong (Keith Hunter) ran a 400m and demonstrated starting out of blocks; an advance on when he was 18 and won English Schools convincingly off a standing start!  His time away revealed he has work still to do to be at his best but it's great to see him back competing this year. His time of 48.59 is a good start to getting back to his 2011 pb of 46.74.

We had three representatives in the Javelin. Winning for England was Laura Whittingham with a throw of 52.89 whilst in the same competition Rosie Semenytysh threw 45.79 for fifth. To throw over 60m at U23 is impressive Sam Dean (Neil Donbavand) was fifth with 62.11, only two metres off victory.

Don't forget the people in the background who make these things possible. Dean Hardman of England Athletics (our vice chair and for many years our BAL manager) Carol Brown, Marion O'Donnell, Debbie Beresford, Joe Frost and all the other track and field officials - I personally don't care which club they belong too , it wouldn't happen without them.

Sale are fortunate to have many coaches and managers who unselfishly give their time to nurture athletes and if they have done well enough to encourage athletes to this level they have done a great job. A thanks to you all from the community.

Whilst in terms of Internationals this event is overshadowed by the Diamond League, Anniversary Games and the World Championships it is important that it is staged in the North and gives local athletes and spectators some local interest, whilst more importantly giving those excellent youngsters who are still at school a glimpse of what is possible. A big well done to England Athletics for bringing this event to Manchester, cultural and sporting capital of the North !

Photos courtesy of Dark Star Photos check out the website by clicking here.