Jess wins English Schools with club record and Funto wins again

After two years of missing out on selection for the Surrey Schools team for the English Schools Championship, Jess Knight vindicated her inclusion in the team for this year’s edition in by romping to victory in the Senior Girls 400m by a margin of almost a second and breaking the HHH club senior and under 20 women’s records into the bargain. Jess produced a quite stunning run in the biggest race of her season in a packed Gateshead International Stadium as she treated a Sky Sports 3 live TV audience to a performance that was over a second faster than her previous personal best time, recording 54.41. This superb win for Jess was a fitting reward for the hard work she has put in in preparation, training with her coach James McDonald, who has again brought an athlete through to deliver on a big stage.

Herne Hill had another first claim athlete winning a Senior Girls title, as Funto Fabunmi-Alade, racing for Berkshire Schools won the 200m for the second year in a row, clocking 24.3 seconds to win by 0.4 seconds a good gap ahead of 2nd and 3rd over a short distance. In 3rd place another HHH team member, Higher Competition Athlete Shanice Harrison placed 3rd in 24.7, clocking the same time as the silver medal winner. A third athlete with HHH affiliation won gold, another Senior Girl and another HCA, Maddy Austin whose tactical astuteness saw her to a well executed victory in a slowly run 800m race.

At a meeting where it is an honour to be selected for your county schools team, never mind make it onto the podium, other HHH athletes to perform with distinction were Zanson Plummer, 4th Intermediate Boys 100m, Marvin Popoola 6th Inter Boys 200m, Rebecca Zelic 8th Senior Girls Triple Jump, Tayo Andrews 9th equal Inter Boys High Jump, while although not advancing from his Junior Boys 800m heat Ed Olsen recorded a fine PB time of 2.04.12.

More locally at Crystal Palace, the South of England Athletics Association chose to stage their Under 20 Championship over the same weekend as the English Schools, which led to a depleted entry in many events, but still produced some fine performances and some worthwhile competition for a handful of HHH athletes. Our only gold medallist was Rushane Thomas who won a well contested 110m hurdles race in a good PB of 14.71.

Silver medals were won by Aisha Naibe-Wey in the women’s 400m, as she too clocked an emphatic PB time of 56.57 and HHH could rather cheekily claim a 1-2 in this event as the winner was a HHH HCA, Adelle Tracey, who smashed her PB with 55.09. In the men’s 100m Jonathan Grant won a silver medal in 10.91, which would have been a PB were it not for his great 10.79 when also placing 2nd in his heat earlier. Rosanta Yarde won more silver as she was a close 2nd in the women’s 100m in 12.69 for another HHH PB, while Lewis Lloyd, in his first 800m races of the season was kicking himself for not finding space to get a clearer run down the home straight in a tactical final as he won our only bronze medal of the meeting but crossed the line only 5 1/100ths of a second behind the winner in the nevertheless creditable time (given the slow first lap) of 1.57.49.

All in all a good weekend for the club, rounded off by solid performances by two of our senior athletes who trekked up to the British Milers Club Trafford Grand Prix meeting in Manchester. Hannah Edwards had cause to be happy with her season’s best of 2.16.11 in placing 3rd in the women’s C 800m race, while Mike Cummings put in a sub 4 minute clocking to record 3.58.14 in 10th place in the men’s E 1500m race.

Geoff Jerwood.