A team of athletes from Herne Hill Harriers were among a very select group invited to an Olympic Test Event in the main stadium, taking place less than 48 hours before the start of track and field at London 2012. The event was designed to test a number of aspects before the Games and provided athletes with an Olympic experience which included preparing at the warm up track, rubbing shoulders with Olympians such as Tyson Gay and Jo Pavey, reporting to the pre event call rooms and going through the tunnel from warm up area to the main stadium. The timing systems and announcements, music and big screens and results systems were all also tested.
What was also tested was how fast the Olympic track is and the sprinters in particular enjoyed the rapid surface. In the men’s 100m HHH man Robert Graham placed a good 3rd in the first heat, clocking a great PB of 10.52 with a legal following wind, only 2 one hundredths outside a very long standing club record. In heat two Idris Ojuriye placed 5th in a season’s best of 10.68, but narrowly missed qualifying for a final in which Robert finished 6th with 10.72.
Gabriella Roseje was the club’s highest placed athlete with 3rd in the women’s shot, throwing a good 11.49m, while Paul Oluyemi was 4th in the men’s long jump and Funto Fabunmi-Alade finished 6th in the women’s 200m. The HHH men’s 4 x 400m team acquitted themselves very well, crossing the line in 4th in a strong race and were then promoted to 2nd as two teams ahead were disqualified. Sammy Croll-Mensah, Michael Dyer, Peter Phillips and Byron Robinson combined to take the baton around 4 laps and our women’s 4 x 100m sprint relay team of Jess Knight, Funto, Michelle Watson and Rececca Zelic ran well to place 5th.
Jeff Cunningham ran a fine season’s best in the 3000m steeplechase recording 9.57.41 placing 8th and Simon Coombes got the better of a back problem to follow Jeff home in 11th.
During the Olympics themselves there has been some brief video footage from Wednesday’s test event shown on the big screen inside the Olympic Stadium at every Olympic track and field session and these clips have included young 15 year old Elena Rodham-Cooke high jumping in HHH colours viewed by the huge stadium audiences! She was even lucky enough to be in the stadium at the Games to see herself on the screen.
A truly unique experience for all of the athletes involved which saw them part of the Games while some sports were already competing in the Olympic Park.