A round-up of Sportshall UK Final action in Manchester
Last weekend (April 22-23) saw the top county teams from each of the English regions joined by national champions from Ulster and Wales descend on Sportcity, Manchester, for the Sportshall UK Final. In a change from recent years, the under-15 all rounder competition took place on Saturday, with the under-13 team challenge on Sunday.
Narrowly beating Surrey, the girls from Norfolk were victorious in the team competition. Serena Grace of City of Norwich won both the four-lap race and the speed bounce, with her club-mate Mia Hopson achieving the highest cumulative points score for Norfolk after an equal sixth place finish in the two-lap race, a throw of 10.36m in the shot to place fifth and a jump of 58cm to finish 12th in the vertical jump.
The individual competition was dominated by combined events athletes, with the eventual winner being Emily Tyrrell of North Devon AC. Emily won the standing long jump (2.62m) and was joined at the top of the podium in the two-lap-race by Molly Palmer. Emily’s third event was the shot in which she finished eighth with a throw of 9.55m which was good enough to hold on to the overall victory.
The girls’ competition was challenged throughout by Iris Oliarnyk of Halesowen AC and Mia Chantree of Chelmsford AC, who finished second and third respectively, splitting the top three by only 11 points. Iris was outstanding in the speed and power events, finishing second in the standing long jump and winning the shot with a throw of 12.67m putting an extra 13cm on her previous indoor best achieved at this year’s England Athletics U15/U17 Indoor Combined Events Championships. Mia threw 10.60m in the shot and was just short of her best of 10.69m achieved earlier this year and picked up a well deserved bronze medal in the shot, finished fourth in the four-lap race and eighth in a competitive vertical jump.
Donegal made their trip across the water worthwhile after taking the victory in the under-15 boys’ team competition for the second consecutive year ahead of Berkshire and Hertfordshire who were second and third respectively. Lughan Devenney was the highest scoring Ulster athlete representing the Donegal team and finished second in the four-lap race, fourth in the speed bounce and 10th in the shot with an overall score of 273 to finish fourth in the individual all rounder competition while supporting the team victory.
Thurrock Harriers athlete Theo Adesina qualified for the UK Final in his own right after a competitive east regional event earlier in the year and was impressive throughout the day, dropping only four points to score 296 of a potential 300. In winning the four-lap and placing second in the shot and standing triple jump, Theo was crowned UK all rounder champion.
Second and third were Charlie Williams of West Norfolk and Harvey Darroch of Wirral AC.
Sunday afternoon saw the under-13 teams arrive at Sportcity ready for their team competition. Once again, George Bunner, creator of Sportshall, took to the stage to share some of his experience with the budding young athletes from across the UK.
The obstacle relay is always an exciting start to any Sportshall competition and the action was kicked off on Sunday with a series of extremely competitive races.
In the under-13 boys’ competition, the eventual winners of the team competition were Berkshire. The Berkshire boys showed their strength across the day by winning six individual podium places and victory in both the 4 x 1 and 4 x 2 lap relays. Running 20.0 in the two-lap race, Adam Ulhaq took the title in what was a very quick time indeed.
In the under-13 girls competition, Surrey were crowned UK champions after success throughout the afternoon with medals in all relays winning an impressive three of the four track relays and eight individual podium places including UK champions in the shot and standing long jump. Elanor Trugg, who jumped 2.40m to claim the standing long jump title, and Jenae James, who took the shot victory. Jenae threw an impressive 11.36m ahead of Adrienne Gallen who took silver and also set a new Ulster record of 10.87m, beating the previous best of 10.75m set in 2013 by Naoimh McGranaghan.