Awuah wins double World Junior Championship sprint bronze medals in Finland




Herne Hill Harriers under 20 sprint sensation Kristal Awuah claimed two fabulous bronze medals at a major global athletics championship at the IAAF World Junior Championship in Tampere, Finland in only her second competition overseas.
On Thursday 18 year old Awuah opened the account for the Great Britain Juniors team to win their first medal of the championship as she stormed to a magnificent third place in the women’s 100m in 11.37 behind super fast athletes from Jamaica and the USA.
The previous day Awuah had won her hear convincingly in a new Herne Hill club under 20 and senior women’s record of 11.35 to underline her potential to win medals. The semi final preceded the final on Thursday and Awuah’s second place in 11.37 secured her automatic qualification and a good lane for her final.
The final itself was epic, with Awuah pitted against the American favourite and a Jamaican who was determined to upset that prediction. Awuah didn’t get the best of starts but picked up superbly to sprint through to the line for a momentous bronze medal that was the first ever won by a Harriers athlete at this level.
Awuah then on Saturday doubled her collection of bronze bling as she was a key member of the Great Britain team which placed third in the 4 x 100m relay to ensure that her visit to Finland had as happy an ending as it had begun.
Back on home soil, the English Schools championship took place on Friday and Saturday in Birmingham. Dubbed as the Kids Olympics these championships are the pinnacle of many a young athletes aspirations, some aiming for medals or finals, but to represent the county schools team at this meeting is in itself a huge achievement for most who attend.
Hot weather ensured that many of the longer races would be run tactically and none more so than the senior girls 1500m final in which the London Schools team and Herne Hill Harriers had two athletes competing, multiple national medal winner Alexandra Brown and the returning former 800m medalist from four years ago, Saskia Millard.
Brown dominated the race throughout, leading the early couple of laps at a comfortable pace with Millard on her shoulder, controlling from the front and then winding up to race away to an imperious victory in 4.31.46 to win by almost 3 seconds as Millard placed an excellent 6th in 4.38.39.
Brown is the English Schools championship specialist par excellence. Her latest title was claimed in a string of five consecutive ESAA champs appearances, having once placed fifth, twice second and twice first, plus two SIAB English Schools international team vests.
The junior girls 1500m was a different affair, with two athletes racing into the lead while Maisie Collis representing Surrey Schools and Eva Holland for London kept cool heads in the heat to race intelligently at the head of the chasing group. Their rewards were an eventual superb silver medal for Collis in a PB and club under 15 girls record of 4.32.76, while Holland also ran an exceptional PB time of 4.39.12 in placing fourth.
The other Herne Hill athlete to win an individual medal was Je’Nae James who picked up a silver in the junior girls shot put with a very fine 11.98m, a top performance of which her coach Anthony Soalla Bell will be proud.
Ore Adamson placed fourth in the intermediate girls long jump, missing a medal by one centimetre, Kai Broadbent placed fifth in the junior boys shot, Noah was sixth in the junior boys 200m, breaking the club under 13 boys record in running 23.19 in his heat and Zoe Tompkins placed sixth in the senior girls 1500m steeplechase in a PB 5.07.07. Tompkins’ time is a Herne Hill club and Surrey county under 20 women’s record.
Geoff Jerwood