James Whiteaker, Harriet Knowles-Jones, Imani Lansiquot and Taylor Campbell among athletes to impress at ESAA Championships in Birmingham
In between a few cloudy spells at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium the sun managed to shine, as did many of the teenagers in action at the 84th edition of the English Schools Championships.
Records were broken in a number of events on both the track and field across an action-packed two days as athletes battled it out for titles in junior, intermediate and senior age group categories.
Among those to impress were Kent’s James Whiteaker and Notts athlete Joel Leon Benitez in the inter boys javelin and pole vault respectively.
Whiteaker smashed the British under-17 record and added almost seven metres to David Parker’s 18-year-old championship best on Saturday as the 15-year-old launched the spear to 77.12m in front of a crowd including athlete-turned-coach Parker, who extended his congratulations to the 2014 gold medallist. “It was the first time I’d met him,” Whiteaker explained. “He said he was pleased to see the record go and that it was about time!
“I’m so pleased, I can’t believe it,” he added. “I hoped to go over 70 metres but I can’t believe 77 metres, though!”
The day before and Benitez had bettered the 19-year-old championship best by one centimetre. He went on to attempt what would have been an overall personal best height of 4.83m but was thrilled to have come away with gold and have written his name in the ESAA record books.
Another to leave a lasting mark was Harriet Knowles-Jones representing Manchester in the inter girls 3000m as she clocked 9:27.15 to break the championship best by more than eight seconds, while another under-17 athlete breaking records was Surrey’s Imani Lansiquot in the 100m as she followed up her 11.70 in the first round with 11.67 in the final for a championship record. There was also a championship best performance set by Emma Hamplett under the new specification for the inter girls javelin as she won gold with 52.41m.
In the junior age group Lansiquot’s fellow Surrey sprinter Joe Massimo was another to improve through the rounds, smashing the UK under-15 record in the final. He went quickest in the 300m heats with 35.62 and went on to run 35.21 in the final which is also obviously also a championship best. With the junior girls hammer being a new event for this year a championship best was also set there, with Essex thrower Katie Head launching the implement to a 54.96m PB.
There were records set in the senior age group too, with World Juniors-bound athletes Taylor Campbell and Amy Griffiths dominant in the hammer throw and 1500m respectively.
Campbell goes to Eugene having revised his personal best to 74.42m, a championship best by more than three metres, while Griffiths clocked 4:15.08 to take two seconds off the previous championship best.
» For much more in-depth coverage, pictures and results see next week’s AW, out July 17, while footage of the action can be found at vsprt.com/ESAA14