South of England indoor Championship


Report on Emily, Seb & Zoe

Harriers trio shine in South of England championships

[Photo: Emily Thompson (296) battles with Guildford's Alex Shaw (295)]

The Banbury Harriers Under-17 trio of Emily Thompson, Seb Hartwell and Zoe Pollock produced excellent performances at Saturday's South of England Indoor Athletics Championships. Thompson and Hartwell both reached the final of their respective 400m competitions and both finished 4th against top quality opposition. Pollock also secured an excellent PB of 1.45m in the High-Jump. The annual regional championships, staged at London's Lee Valley Athletics Centre and bringing together athletes from the region's 570 clubs spread from Cornwall to Norfolk, have in recent years provided the launchpad for current GB athletes such as Jodie Williams and Isobel Pooley. 

Thompson's winter season plan is to use the indoor events to sharpen her 400m speed, as she works towards another successful summer in the 800m. At Lee Valley on Saturday she faced the demands of heats, semi-final and final in the 400m, all in a little over 2 hours. She negotiated her heat with ease, but faced a tough semi-final with 3 rivals having gone faster than her last season in finishing in the UK top 20.  Thompson battled hard in coming from behind with 50 metres to go to secure 3rd place in a time of 60.1 seconds and gain the last available place in the final. Only an hour later, the final pitched Thompson against last year's Under-17 UK number 1 over 400m, Isobel Boffey, alongside 4 other of 2015's top 20 athletes. Boffey's class showed as she dominated throughout in setting a new PB of 55.95, a time that suggests she can go on to achieve the qualifying mark for this year's European Youth Championships. With Michelle Mamudu of London taking Silver and Alex Shaw of Guildford the Bronze, Thompson put in another strong run to secure an impressive fourth position in 60.0 seconds. 

Hartwell was also competing in the 400m and produced 3 excellent performances to progress from heat and semi-final into the Under-17 men's final. In a keenly fought contest, Hartwell's final 20m saw a 3-way dash for the line to contest 2nd, 3rd and 4th places, with Hartwell desperately unlucky to be squeezed into 4th by the narrowest of margins.

 Thanks to Richard Thompson for this report & photo.

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