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Teenagers excel on world stage
It has been a sensational few days for Blackheath & Bromley teenagers Adam Gemili and Dina Asher Smith at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow. Adam was just four hundredths of a second off a bronze medal in the 200 metres while Dina did pick up a third place medal in the womens 4x100 after the disqualification of the French team elevated the British quartet from fourth place.
Adam missed out on a medal in the mens relay as, although the British team were third across the line, they were also disqualified due to an infringement on the second changeover.
Going into these Championships, Adam had run the fastest 200 metres by a Briton for five years when he timed 20.30 at the England Under 23 Championships in June. Few could have predicted what was to follow.
Quick out the blocks in his heat, he ran a fine bend and powered down the home straight to win the race and set a new personal best of 20.17. It was the fastest time from all of the seven heats. This broke 1998 Commonwealth Games champion Julian Golding’s Club Record by one hundredth of a second and moved him up to 5th on the British all time list.
He was back for the semi final that evening, where he produced an astonishing performance, dipping on the line to win his race in 19.98, not that he even knew he had won. “I was in shock going over the line to see the time” yet initially he did not know it was his. The scoreboard soon revealed it was and he could celebrate that he was now the second fastest Briton of all time.
Only John Regis has run faster and he only ever ran under 20 seconds twice, once in 1993 before Adam was born and then in 1994 when he was less than a year old. The only other teenager to have broken 20 seconds is Usain Bolt who Adam was now set to meet in the final.
Seven of the eight finalists had personal bests of under 20 seconds so the field was of the highest quality. He just missed out on a medal finishing in 5th place in a time of 20.08, yet it was another outstanding performance and he was only four hundredths of a second off 3rd place.
“It's an unbelievable experience to be in that final on the outside of Usain Bolt and just being in the top eight and finishing fifth. I'm just very proud, very happy and very grateful to be in this position,” said the 19 year old.
What would have been the icing on the cake would have been success in the 4x100 metre relay, but this was not to be. Adam was rested for the heats, but ran a strong first leg in the final. However, an error at the second changeover saw the team disqualified. Cruelly the quartet did not find this out until they were on the way to the medal presentation.
Back home Clubmate Julian Golding tried to sum up Adam‘s individual performance “What can you say about that? He was phenomenal. It is 15 years ago that I set the Club Record at the Commonwealth Games but it seems like only yesterday. I’m gutted it’s been broken but the it couldn’t have gone to a nicer lad. Although it’s seven years since I retired, seeing his performances made me want to run again, although realistically I haven‘t the time now.”
He continued “It was 2001 when Christian Malcolm ran 20.08 so it is time for event to move on. To run 20.17, 19.98 and 20.08 over two days is incredible. It shows that he has the ability to win medals in major Championships over the coming years. It is great for British sprinting. Obviously having run these times there will now be a higher level of expectation when he goes to Championships but I am sure he will be able to handle this. He has a good coach in Mike Afilaka and so long as he stays fit and healthy his future is bright.”
Prior to Moscow, Julian was the last Club member to win a medal at a World Championships when he was part of the Great Britain quartet who won bronze in the 4x100 in 1997. Now the most recent medallist is 17 year old Dina Asher Smith!
The European Junior 200 metre champion, who was the youngest member of the British squad in Moscow, had not necessarily been guaranteed a place in the relay team. However, her and the teams performance at the Anniversary Games last month, showed that, if called upon she was ready.
And so in the first track event on the last day of the Championships, the John Blackie coached athlete stood on the start line with the whole world watching. She did not disappoint. A fine leg and changeover to Ashleigh Nelson launched a tremendous team performance with Annabelle Lewis and Hayley Jones bringing the baton home to secure first and a place in the final with a time of 42.75. However, they were only the sixth fastest qualifiers from the three heats.
The same team ran in the final and Dina again delivered a fine opening leg, her reaction time being the second quickest of the eight first leg runners. A good changeover to Ashley and then to Annabelle saw Hayley Jones take the baton in second place. Despite her best efforts she was swallowed up by the field and crossed the line fourth in 42.87.
Although they thought they had not won medals the quartet were justifiably proud of their efforts, especially as Britain did not qualify to compete in this event in the London 2012 Olympics. Then came the news that the French team who had crossed the line second had been disqualified. Exceeding all expectations, they were the 2013 World bronze medallists. “It means so much to us. I’m over the moon. It’s such a shock” said Dina. When she returns to Newstead Woods school next month there won’t be many people who will need to ask her if she did anything special over the Summer holidays.
Apart from their performances in Moscow, what also impressed many was how the two teenagers conducted themselves when speaking with the media. Adam highlighted the fact that while there have been some high profile drugs problems recently, it remains a great Sport and that anyone interested in running, jumping and throwing should head down to their local Athletics track.
Norman Park track was where Dina started her Athletics career as an under 11 member of the Bees Academy and there are others who started from here who are now blossoming. Of course there was also disappointment at these Championships for Lorraine Ugen who had three no jumps in her qualifying pool of the long jump. The other disappointment was the non selection of Serita Solomon in the 100 metre hurdles despite having met the IAAF qualifying standard.
Highlighting her, and eight other athletes being overlooked, Peter Matthews, co-editor of Athletics International wrote in Athletics Weekly magazine, “Due to the myopia/bureaucracy/stupidity - call it what you will - of UK Athletics…athletes who could have been added to the UK team, will not be competing in Moscow at the World Championships.”
Having overcome two serious injuries as she progressed from under 13 through to Senior level, selection for Serita for the Worlds would have been a just reward for her dedication and perseverance. Still it is the Commonwealth Games next year and this quartet and hopefully other Club members will be challenging for selection for Glasgow.
Some of the Clubs future stars were contesting the South Of England U15 and U17 Championships at Ashford. The move of the date from May to the Summer Holiday period appears to have reduced the number of those competing. Nevertheless the Club did have some success.
In the under 17s age group, Stefan Amokwandoh returned from holiday to take second place in the triple jump with a leap of 13.46. Many of the jumps in the competition were wind assisted, and had the contest only included legal efforts Stefan would have won with 13.42.
Richard Webb continued his best ever Summer season as he also won silver in the 1500 metres steeplechase in a time of 4.38.42.
Maya Bruney is getting back into form after early season injury and she won bronze in the girls 100 metres in a time of 12.66. It was bronze too for Leah Everson in the 800 metres in 2.16.60. The day before she was fourth in the 300 metre hurdles in 48.56.
Elsewhere Will Fuller was 6th in the 1500 metres and Alex Skipp, Bailey Sticking and Jessica Keene 7th in the 200 metres, 400 hurdles and 800 respectively.
Isabella Hilditch won the bronze medal in the under 15s long jump with a leap of 5.11. Shannon Riskey missed out on a top three placing in the 800 by just three tenths of a second in 2.22.25 and it was 4th also in the boys discus for Dele Aladese with 38.86. William Pope was 7th in the 300 metres in 39.54. Meanwhile Jim Phelan was the first over 65 year old in the Salford Triathlon over the Olympic distance. He timed 29.44 for the swim, 1.17.59 for the bike and finished with 56.35 for the run. He was 250th overall out of 522 finishers.
Further afield David Hoben took part in the 44th Dodentocht “Death March” 100k endurance event over 24 hours at Antwerp in Belgium. He timed 17 hours and 54 minutes.
Parkruns Barnstaple : 15 Barry WETHERILT 00:21:32 Bexley : 20 Christopher PIKE 00:22:03 Bromley : 10 Kelsey FUSS 00:18:46 12 Joshua Henry DAVIDSON 00:19:08 14 Jennie BUTLER 00:19:17 23 Andrew LAWES 00:19:49 28 Nick PERRY 00:19:55 29 Adrian STOCKS 00:19:57 31 Andy TUCKER 00:20:00 42 Robert PERRY 00:20:34 43 Jamie GOSNELL 00:20:34 54 Nigel HAFFENDEN 00:21:02 64 Adrian PERRY 00:21:31 65 Glen READ 00:21:35 78 Justine EASTBURY 00:22:04 84 John FENWICK 00:22:18 89 Nigel BULMER 00:22:24 93 Richard GRIFFIN 00:22:37 103 Mike SIMMS 00:22:58 107 Austin ADAMS 00:23:04 115 Alice PRENTICE 00:23:20 122 Scott BULMER 00:23:31 145 Chloe KIBBLEWHITE 00:24:13 152 Andrew PINO 00:24:31 194 Imogen DUKE 00:25:50 209 Leszek MALYNICZ 00:26:13 325 Honey OKIKIADE 00:30:30 for Eastleigh : 83 Carolyna HALEY 00:27:35 88 Adrian HALEY 00:28:45 Finsbury : 2 Glen TURNER 00:16:57 Frimley Lodge : 1 Peter TUCKER 00:16:25 Greenwich : 16 Rich GRANT 00:21:16 Killerton : 28 Bob MINTING 00:20:52 Orpington : 10 Joseph GEORGIADIS 00:21:12 12 Billy KEENE 00:22:11 22 Harry William KEENE 00:24:12 23 Mick KEENE 00:24:29