Two golds and a silver for Herne Hill athletes at England U15 Champs

A small group of Herne Hill Harriers young athletes travelled up to the England Athletics Under 15/Under 17 Championship at SportCity in Manchester over the weekend. Of the four who competed three between them brought home two gold medals and a silver against the best in the country in their age groups.

Both of the Harriers gold medallists are shot putters. Alexander Abebrese was the very clear winner of the U15 Boys shot with a PB of 16.00m. This improved his previous best from 15.78m set at the recent Surrey County Championship and his margin of victory here was huge, being just over 2m further than his nearest rival’s best on the day. A triumph for both Abebrese and his coach, London Schools Athletics team manager Anthony Soalla-Bell. 

More Herne Hill shot put success followed, as club mate Victoria Alicante-King also claimed a gold medal placing first in the U15 Girls event. Her winning effort of 12.88m saw her finish 64cm to the good and was 11cm shy of her lifetime best.

English Schools Junior Boys 800m champion Keeran Sriskandarajah was the other medal winner. After winning his heat in the U15 Boys 800m in 2:06.42 on Saturday, he was then narrowly beaten into second place in a good final on Sunday, where his time of 2:01.49 won him silver on this occasion. Harriers other entrant Archie Penniceard also competed in the same event, placing sixth in the other heat in 2:19.33.

The evening of Wednesday 18th August sees the Manchester International meeting at the same venue, where Herne Hill athletes Phoebe Anderson and Ingatius Abebrese have been selected to represent an England U20 and Great Britain U18 teams respectively. Anderson will race 5000m and Abebrese will compete in the triple jump, the latter making his debut in an international event.

On Saturday Herne Hill competed in the third National Athletics League match of the season at Kingsmeadow where after a worry over a potential shortage of officials in the end there was a greater shortage of athletes competing.

The middle distance team scored very good points, but the team was very low in the other disciplines – sprints, jumps, throws and hurdles, with the opposition filling these events much better rather than the distance races as clubs still re-emerge from the pandemic into full competition.

Sarah Grover won the women’s 800m in 2:19.63, with backup from Steph Mitchell 2:25.98 and Lily Newton 2:34.29. Mitchell followed up with a good 64.39 for 400m.

Fiona de Mauny front ran to win in her fastest 1500m time since her World Masters Championship silver medal in Malaga in 2018 with 4:39.63, pushed for most of the race by Zoe Tompkins whose 4:46.11 backed up a PB of 4:41.50 she ran on Wednesday at Eltham.

Aimee Hargreaves and Gaby Reynolds were first and second in the women’s 3000m clocking 10:51.30 and 11:05.48. Under 17 Halle Paragh ran PB times for 100m and 200m with 13.60 and 27.79. 

In the men’s events Isaac Ogunlade won the 400m hurdles with 55.3 and then ran 50.74 for 400m without hurdles. Mike Cummings was second in the 800m and 1500m with 2:00.85 and 4:08.89 respectively. Youngsters Sam Camenzuli (U20) and Robin Bebbington (U17) ran 4:25.71 and 4:28.64 behind Cummings in the 1500m. 

Jack Dickenson took the win in the 3000m in 9:24.95, with Jeff Cunningham winning the B string in 9:55.06and young George Rates (U20) close to his PB with 10.20.96. Cunningham had earlier won the 3000m steeplechase in 11.24.8. 

In the throws, Leah Black threw shot, discus and hammer, placing second in the shot (8.29m) and discus (24.48m) and fourth in the A string hammer (17.08m). All three were PB performances, as was Nnaemeka Anyamele’s 31.85m for fourth in the men’s A discus. He also placed fourth in the A shot with 9.33m, just short of his PB.

On the same day Hercules Wimbledon organised an excellent festival of 5000m track racing where M45 Ben Paviour ran 16:07.20 in his race for a strong performance. 

On Friday evening M50 Jonathan Ratcliffe ran a lifetime best time of 17:38 for a road 5km at the Podium 5km races in Barrowford near his home in the Burnley area.

Geoff Jerwood