Double National under 23 titles for Kristal

Four athletes from Herne Hill Harriers competed at the England Athletics Under 20 and Under 23 championships at Bedford over the weekend with quality performances from each of them. 

Top ranked Under 23 and Tokyo Olympics aspirant Kristal Awuah claimed two national age group gold medals. On Saturday she dominated the final of the U23W 100m in 11.67 after a clear win in her earlier heat in 11.75, both times recorded while facing strong headwinds.

Then on Sunday she returned to complete a very impressive double win in a straight final of the 200m, her time of 23.24 being a good season opener at this distance. The wind was much lighter, but still blowing against the sprinters. 

Awuah looked powerful despite not having run any 200s this year, or doing any specific training for the longer sprint, saying after her second event victory of the weekend: “I’m really surprised, as I’ve been concentrating on the 100 so I didn’t really expect this, especially as it was into a headwind.” This ranks Awuah seventh on the UK women’s 200m list for this year and top Under 23.

Also on the national medals rostrum was Ore Adamson, who claimed a bronze in the U23W Triple Jump with a best on the day of 12.03m. This was after placing sixth on Saturday in the Long Jump with 5.77m. Neither Awuah nor Adamson would have appreciated the cool weather conditions that Bedford offered in comparison to the tracks in Texas where they have both separately been based in recent weeks, Adamson having just returned home from University,

Other good finalists in Bedford were Alexandra Brown who came fifth in the U23W 1500m final clocking 4.27.78 in a quite tactical race and Ignatius Abebrese, who was sixth in the Under 20 Men’s Triple Jump with 13.98m.

Southern League athletics returned on Sunday after an absence since 2019, with a match in Battersea Park between four local clubs, as Herne Hill Harriers played hosts to Belgrave Harriers, Croydon Harriers and South London Harriers to provide an enjoyable afternoon of competition. It is clear that while emerging from the pandemic there are currently less athletes so far ready to compete in some events and also the supply of officials and volunteers to run these fixtures is limited, but all went very well on the day.

Highlights from the Herne Hill team were provided by a busy and successful Fiona de Mauny, who with impressive finishing claimed wins in the women’s 800m (2:14.8) and 1500m (4:46.0), the latter being a season’s best time. In between her two wins de Mauny also finished second in the A string 400m with another season’s best of 60.4.

Sarah Grover was a clear winner of the women’s 3000m with a solo time of 10:11.7 and Under 20 Niyah Costley produced a good PB to win the Long Jump with 5.47m.

In the men’s events Isaac Ogunlade won the 400m hurdles in 55.6 and Aaron Brown took the Triple Jump with 13.17m. Two under 17 athletes not only helped to fill the middle distance team but ran good PB times as Harvey Kande placed third in the 800m in 2:04.0 and Robin Bebbington fourth in the 1500m in 4:27.7.

Under 20 Jacob Alley also ran a good PB for 400m in 52.8 before also contributing to the second placed Herne Hill 4 x 400m relay team at the end of a good afternoon.

Geoff Jerwood