England International at Sport City

A tale of Success

As has become usual there were Sale athletes competing in the England International at Sport City and a couple who were brought up through their formative years who recently moved on. For all athletes and coaches this year has again been challenging. Not only has there been a disparity in opportunity depending on the area in which you live, but even at times within some clubs covid restrictions have impacted on plans. Stress levels have been higher than normal. Despite this those who made it to this event were treated to a well organised event with some good, close competition in some events. As in 2019 the weather was not kind.

Two women in particular impressed; one a youngster just moving into senior Athletics with great promise, the other a well-established jumper who is at the top of her event. The aptly named Success Eduan (Anita Richardson) is still only an U17.She competed for GB Juniors in Senior Women's events. The first was a no score 100m in which she came 1st in 11.84.In her preferred event, the 200m she came second in 23.75 which is a UK U20 European standard time and is not far off the times she ran at the European U20 championships in Tallin in July. Her final race was as anchor leg of the 4 x 100 relay in which the team was second. A successful day.

Abigail Irozoru (Aston Moore) has a pb of 6.86 from two years ago when she won the British championships. Recently returned from Tokyo she produced a consistent series of jumps in a close contest ending as winner with a leap of 6.45. Abigail has competed for the club since 2005 when she was a young athlete.

Andy Robertson is another athlete who has served the club well since early secondary school days. He spent seven years with John Smith who took him from U13 to U23 achieving regular success. He captained the England Athletics team and was third in the 100m in 10.56.

Shauna Thompson (Bob Gaisie) was once a top sprinter and competed in the City Games against the top women sprinters of the day back in 2008 when she won the 100/200 double at the Youth Commonwealth Games. She had a very difficult couple of years with injury returned for a year then didn't compete in anything for six years until she re-invented herself as a thrower. For the last three years she has improved her shot pb. A tale of success, disappointment, but most of all, resilience and determination.

Sophie Ashurst (Andy Ashurst) is another young athlete with tremendous talent and potential with a pb of 4.21 she tops the U20 ranking in Pole Vault with a performance that is within the World Junior standard. On a cold drizzly day not ideal for vaulting she cleared 3.87 to come third.

Sean Okome (Keith Hunter) has springs in his heels. Formerly a High Jumper with Jack Frost he now competes in Triple Jump. His jump of 15.47 gained him third place for the NAL team. Melissa Booth (Keith Hunter) currently is second in the National rankings for Triple Jump. Nicholas Walsh has represented the club well in the NAL matches. He ran in a no score 100m event and clocked 10.64 to win his event.

Sale athletes should be congratulated for their perseverance in what has remained a difficult time this year. I hope everyone will appreciate their coaches though and all the other hard working coaches who have tried their utmost to keep their athletes going in all age groups. Some of these senior elite athletes started out with the club. Sometimes they change coaches, sometimes for various reasons they drop out or move away. Coaches invest so much time to their athletes with such dedication. Those mentioned above will be a small percentage of athletes and coaches who have been with the club for some time. You all have my utmost respect in your pursuit of excellence.

Dave Greenwood