By Alastair Aitken
The first day of the Middlesex Championships, on the 14th of May, was in brilliant sunshine for the 100th year event, in contrast to the rains that came the next day for the second day of competition.
In recent years the high standard events have come from the senior sprints, these had 22 senior entries this year for the 100m. In all three categories the legal times for the winners were inside 11.0 seconds. Daniel Offiah (10.63); U20 Reece Earle (10.97); U17 by Teddy Wilson, at 15 years of age, (10.83). Looking back over many years to 1983, Linford Christie did 10.2 for a Championship Best (CBP).
Roy Stratton an official for countless years said to me “The trouble is that the County is not supported enough by the seniors, because coaches and nanagers don’t feel it is of any value but Olympic Champion Linford Christie said to him recently “ I always did the County. as it was an important build up for the big Championships events that follow!” Dave Bedford, the ex-World record holder for 10,000 in the 1970’s said “At the time I was running at my best it was difficult to always win the County event and I was beaten by Malcolm Thomas so, it was really tough and competitive to make the County team but, something people wanted to do then.” Ex-International Pete Browne, a prolific 800m man over many years said “The County was part of the pathway to the other events like the Inter-Counties, Southern and, National and International selection” Another high quality race that Roy Stratton heard Peter Mathews announce was Seb Coe’s CBP of 1:44.0 in 1985; that time has not been approached since.
At this meeting on the first day at Lee Valley there was a CBP in the women’s pole vault by Megan Bailey who vaulted 4.01m. The previous record of 3.70m was set in 2006. There was another strong performance in the field where Amy Clemens won the hammer with a throw of 48.68m.
Adela Svihialkova , aged only 15, ran 2:12.91 for the 800, not far off the CBP of 2:12.16 by Charlotte Buckley in 2017. Armana Rai took off with 450 metres to go in the 1500 Final, as suggested by her coach Andy Hobdale and it worked nicely with a 4:47.83 clocking for a PB.
George Vaughn won the opening event of the day in the 400 hurdles senior race in 53.16, he also won the 110 hurdles in 15.15. Senior Kareem Selman Jackson ran a 48.83 in the one lap event and Ella Fryer won the corresponding women’s race in 57.66. 18 year old Jason Kala running from lane 4 in the 200 clocked 21.86 but was disappointed not to better the CPB of 21.3 for the Under 20’s.
That all proved the Middlesex Championships could be fought out for another 100 years!