Yate gets summer athletics season going at a sprint
The Yate & District AC’s Sprints and Hurdles Open meeting has become a valued opening fixture for sprinters from across the region, with athletes coming from as far afield as Swansea and Neath in one direction and Taunton in the other.
The event is valued because at the start of the season everyone wants to achieve good times and establish themselves for the more serious competitions ahead. Its popularity has led to organiser Graham Howell restricting the entry to two hundred athletes.
Cold conditions, with occasional drizzly showers however were never going to help the athletes improve on their winter times, but with seventeen heats of 100m and sixteen of 200m, all were guaranteed a competitive race against comparable athletes.
As with all open meetings, race placings matter less than times. Age groups and male and female run in mixed heats, leading to some tight finishes and difficult judgements for the track judges.
In spite of generally middling times some Yate athletes stood out. Under-23 Ben Wells has shown real improvement in recent months and did well in both 60m and 200m. His 60m time of 7.32 secs was the best of a good bunch for Yate, with Rob Phillips and Tom Pallot not far adrift. At 200m he clocked 22.8 secs, marginally ahead of Josh Snook.
In the younger under-15 mens catagory, Luke Ball had a busy and largely successful afternoon. Clocking 7.97 secs in the 60m; 12.8 secs in the 100m, and 13.00 secs in the 80m hurdles, he demonstrated the value of regular indoor competitions.
Phoebe Havard in the under-13 girls, continued the improvement she showed over the winter. She finished in 8.88 secs in the 60m; 14.2 secs in the 100m, and 30.2 secs in the 200m: a very promising start to the summer season.
Dalis Jones ran a good 300m in 45.2 secs. In the same age group, Abi Williams posted good times in 60m, 100m and 200m.
Worthy of a mention was Nils Rehm who runs as a T47 disabled athlete. His 200m time of 24.3 secs must put him in contention for serious races later in the season.
Toby Conibear treated a good crowd to the sight of a hammer thrower sprinting and doing it pretty well.
In the under17 men’s division, it was good to see an emerging group of Yate sprinters. Max Elliott, Isaac Cory, Nathaniel Mitchell and James Lynch clearly push each other strongly. Max and Isaac both ran under twelve seconds in the 100m, while Max and Nathaniel both dipped under 25 seconds in the 200m.
In the 400m, Josh Snook showed good form, finishing in 51.3 secs.
The Friday before the open event saw the British trials for the Invictus Games, which this year is being held in Sydney, Australia.
Four officials from Yate & District AC were called in to help with the games. Pat and Tony Jefferies and Matt Viner operated as field officials, while Stuart Nunn was one of the starters.
A highlight of the morning was the visit of Prince Harry, who is the driving force for this event, and his soon to be wife Meghan Markle.