Middlesex Championships – Mile End – 10/11th May 2003

A nagging headwind in the home straight blowing off the nearby River Thames kept down both temperatures and performances, but it was athletes transgressing the rules that affected the overall quality of the meeting, held in the shadow, and sponsored by, Canary Wharf, Gavin Collett reports. Two such hurdle efforts that were expunged were by Mohammed Sillah-Freckleton, with an otherwise impressive 14.3 110m mark, and Ealing’s Melanie Canning, with what would have been a championship record-equalling 63.1 Under 20 400m hurdle, but both were disqualified for technical offences.

Three of last year’s top six ranked under 20 sprinters graced the start line of the 100m, but repeated false starts saw both reigning champion Clive Turner and Leon Baptiste eliminated. Nevertheless Gibril Banguru matched his heat time of 10.8 into the strong headwind to eventually take the honours by one-tenth of a second from the host club’s Ricky Fifton and Woodford’s Monu Miah, all three bettering the winning senior mark of 11.0 by Lawrence Oboh.

Other impressive sprint displays came from double winners Jamal Alert-Khan in the Under 17 age-group and senior women Laura Turner, continuing her impressive form from the previous week’s BUSA Champs. Turner had just held off Symone Belle in the shorter sprint, but the local hero gained some consolation when she later shaved a tenth of a second from Jackie Agyepong’s championship record in the sprint hurdle with her 14.2 effort.

Japanese student Kazuhiro Nomura stamped his authority on the 400m hurdles with 54.1 but, as he was ineligible, the county title went to Harrow’s Ian Palmer. His clubmate Ben Carne recorded 56.0 in the same race, though his lane’s hurdles were set to 84cm at the request of UK Athletics, as he sought a mark before the World Youth Games later this summer.

Good women’s jump wins came for Denise Gayle in the high jump and long jumper Nadine Williams, whilst Caroline Stead was made to work hard for her victory in the triple jump by junior Angela Barrett.

Another senior pushed by younger rivals was Andres Fernandes in the long jump. The Thames Valley Harrier had to produce a last round 7m12 to lift himself from third place to take the county title from Adrian Phillips, as 15-year-old Daryl Thomas produced a big lifetime best to take the Under 17 championship with 6m90.

Windsor’s Catherine Macrae equalled her championship record of 3m40 in the pole vault for the third year running, whilst Matt Weaver regained his men’s title with 4m50, after the event had been cancelled last year for safety reasons.

The West London Hammer School has now re-located to the Perivale track and local club Ealing, Southall & Middlesex seem to be reaping the rewards with Claire Phillips and Samantha Hynes winning the Under 17 and 20 titles, whilst ex-Ealing members Joanne John, with four efforts over 50m, and Bill Beauchamp took the senior events. Beauchamp agreed to throw an over standard weight 9kg hammer for safety reasons, an implement he uses regularly in training, but suffered a scare with his five opening efforts declared no-throws. Reducing to just three turns on his final throw, Beauchamp confirmed the early season form that has seen him already throw over 70m in the USA by hurling the heavier implement out to 58m40 to retain his county title.

Harrow’s Lewis Edwards won the Under 17 hammer title in 47m29, whilst his senior clubmate Luke Rosenberg retained his discus title, as did Elisha Dee in the Under 20 women’s event, though shy of the 43m the Thames Valley Harrier has already recorded this season.