English Schools high jump gold for Solomon in Birmingham

Herne Hill Harriers provided the largest number of athletes for the London Schools team last weekend at the English Schools Championship. Harriers youngsters brought home four medals from the “kids Olympics” held in the Alexander Stadium, the venue for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

Solomon Thompson-Moodley led the medals charge with a superb gold as he won the Junior Boys high jump on Friday afternoon. A great PB clearance of 1.84m saw him 3cm above the silver medal winner and added a whopping 8cm to his previous best when it mattered the most.

Two other Herne Hill athletes claimed silver medals on Saturday. Ella Rennie was second in the Junior Girls 200m final in 25.90 after setting a PB of 25.27 in her heat the day before. Rennie was also a member of the London Junior Girls gold medal sprint relay team.

Eliza Nicholson was only two hundredths of a second away from a win in the Inter Girls 3000m in one of the tightest finishes of the championships with her 9:47.06 clocking in a tactical race. The first two in each of the Intermediate Girls and Boys finals gained selection for the England Schools team who will compete at the SIAB home international meet in Grangemouth, Scotland on 15th July, an event at which Nicholson will renew her rivalry with Saturday’s race winner.

There was also a bronze medal for Saskia King in the Senior Girls 100m as she recorded a PB of 11.90. King was then also a 4 x 100m relay gold medalist in her age group along with her club mate Jaydine Robinson who had earlier competed in the long jump.

More top placings were secured by Surrey Schools team member Fred Hake, who set a Herne Hill club U17M 400m record of 49.01 in his Inter Boys before placing fourth in a strong final in 50.49. Keeran Sriskandarajah was also fourth in the Inter Boys 800m clocking 1:55.17 in his heat and 1:57.52 final on consecutive days. 

Lily Rose Brown and Jasmine Nkoso were fifth in the Inter Girls 300m and Junior Girls shot respectively with Brown’s 39.94 heat being her season’s best time so far and Nkoso throwing 11.45m.

Rikaion Smith was seventh in the Inter Boys 100m clocking a 11.12 heat and 11.05 final and was also a member of the Surrey Schools sprint relay team who won gold medals.

Harriers international middle distance star Katie Snowden got herself back on track after recent illness had caused her to miss the classic Bislett Games Dream Mile in Oslo a couple of weeks ago. On Sunday Snowden placed eighth in a strong Diamond League women’s 1500m in a very wet Stockholm clocking 4:05.28 in the testing weather conditions.

Snowden came down from her current training base in St Moritz to race a world class field a week before the upcoming UK Championship and World Trials in Manchester where she will lead a handful of Herne Hill entrants at this major national event. She will be hoping to qualify for the Great Britain team for the August World Athletics Championship in Budapest.

The Watford Harriers Wednesday open meeting produced another HHH club M50 middle distance record and this time it was Simon Coombes clocking 4:12.63 for a rapid 1500m outing. This ranks Coombes 9th on the UK all time list for M50 1500m. 

Later at the same venue fellow M50 Ben Paviour ran 3000m in 9:22.13, not a record on this occasion and closely followed in by M40 Jeff Cunningham in 9:25.28.

The Dave Clarke Mile races, named after a British cross country legend from the local Hercules Wimbledon club were run in good conditions on their track in the park. Both the mile finish times and the 1500m splits en route were officially recorded electronically, giving a double PB opportunity for some.

HHH fastest on the night was Lewis Laylee with his mile in 4:18.03 1500m 4:00.85 for seventh in a strong A race at the end of the evening. Also at the faster end, U20 Harry Bell ran a 4:29.69 mile and 4:12.89 for 1500m, both PBs, Seve Loudon 4:41.13 and 4:21.33, M45 Raj Paranandi 4:41.22 and 4:22.56 both PBs and Ross Brown 4:49.78 and 4:31.39.

St George’s University Hospital athletes James Brown and Grace Leyland ran good PBs. Brown ran 5:14.16 and 4:54.67 and Leyland 5:15.94 and 4:55.63, while M55 Norman Urquia and W45 Nikki Sturzaker also claimed double PBs with Urquia 5:14.77 and 4:55.48 and Sturzaker 5:17.76 and 4:57.11.

Younger athletes performances at Wimbledon included a race win for U20 David Aisa Miller in a PB 4:56.93 and U15B Thomas Clerkin ran 4:50.33. U13 Boys Edward Cunniffe 4:52.64, Zaccheaus Kelman 4:57.61, Luca Boulton 5:24.60 and Herbert Clark ran 5:38.12, with U15 Girls Maeve Minielly 5:26.11 and Lily Kitto 5:41.0.

U15 Boy Alfie Bryan ran a PB of 5:18.8 in one of the early races as part of a very strong showing of red and black vests on a good night for racing

Geoff Jerwood