Medals for Yate athletes at schools championships

August 01 2018
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Yate & District Athletic Club are celebrating after a successful time at the English Schools Championship.

The club had ten young athletes selected to represent Avon, Gloucestershire or Wiltshire and three achieved medals. 

The Championships, held this year in Birmingham, is the highlight of many athletes’ season, and by some measures it is the largest track and field meeting in the world with medals highly prized by all.

All athletics clubs depend on their coaches and the Yate club is lucky to have several excellent people looking after their youngsters. The four coaches whose athletes competed in Birmingham are worthy of particular notice.

Jeremy Dale coaches high jump, and two of the three high jumpers representing their counties came home with medals. Fiona Barkley jumped in the Junior Girls category, representing Gloucestershire. She conducted herself on the biggest stage she will ever have encountered with admirable aplomb and came away with a silver medal. Her final jump of 1.64m equalled her personal best and is a club record.

Luke Ball was also experiencing English Schools for the first time and jumped in the Junior Boys age group. The competition was keen with nine or ten boys still clear as the bar approached Luke’s personal best, with a boy from London seemingly clearing the bar with alarming ease. 1.84 metres is higher than Luke’s previous best but he cleared it on his third attempt. After a ‘count-back’, which takes into consideration the number of failed attempts throughout the competition, Luke was awarded a bronze medal.

Matt Spicer’s hammer throwers have made names for themselves across the Midlands and here they came up against the rest of the country. Toby Conibear, in the Inter Boys age group, was a picture of concentration as the big group of boys competed around him. New to this age group and competing against boys at least a year older than him, he produced a personal best of 57.22m, a fine achievement which promises well for next year.

James Viner and Owen Merrett, who both competed for Wiltshire, have pushed each other all season. This time it was Owen who prevailed taking the bronze medal with a throw of 46.60m. James threw a personal best of 44.63, which was good enough for fifth place.

Sandra Woodman, the club’s sprints coach, had five athletes selected including four members of Yate & District. For three of them, Max Elliott, Isaac Cory and Nathaniel Mitchell, the experience of the biggest competition of their careers so far was its own reward. Isaac and Nathaniel both posted personal best times – Isaac clocked 23.00 secs in the 200m, and Nathaniel 51.55 secs in the 400m. 

The fourth Yate athlete, Dan Brooks, got into the final of the Senior Boys 100m with a good time of 10.95 secs, only tenths of a second off his personal best. In the final he couldn’t quite match that but was good enough for fifth place.

Hannah Hobbs, running in the Senior Girls 3000m, forced her way in to fifth position. Her time of 9:53.57 was close to her personal best, delighting her coach Pat Gallagher.

Meanwhile, in Cardiff, David Thomas was competing in the Senior Welsh Championships, even though he is still only under-20. He too achieved a personal best jump of 1.88m, which proved enough for fourth place.