Morgan Lake, Shannon Hylton and Emile Cairess are also among winners at the England Athletics U23 and U20 Championships

Jake Norris provided the highlight of the first day of the England Athletics U23 and U20 Championships in Bedford with a superb British under-20 hammer record of 80.45m. This mark puts him second in the world rankings.

Remarkably it was just his second hammer competition this year with the lighter junior implement and came a few days after returning from college in the USA where he was third in the NCAA Championships.

“I only flew back Thursday so my body has not adjusted yet and I woke up at 3am this morning,” he said.

Norris had an excellent competition but saved his best for the final round.

“I was pleased with the competition and the throws around 78 metres and I was delighted with the record throw,” he added. “I think I can get bigger distances. The timing is different with the smaller weight and now I have finished college I can focus on the smaller weight and can get used to it.”

While he is tempted to try and make the European senior team, he will now focus on the IAAF World U20 Championships.

“I should have plenty of European Champs ahead but this is my last chance at the World Juniors,” said the 18 year-old Windsor athlete.

In second, Bayley Campbell was well within the World U20s standard with a 73.42m throw.

Lake and Hopkins among U23s to impress

As there is no international competition for under-23s this year, the under-20s have the starring role but this did not stop some top-class performances in the older age group.

In just her second competition since her Commonwealth Games silver medal, Morgan Lake won the high jump with a solid 1.90m leap.

“It’s all right at this stage of the season but I want to jump higher in the trials,” she said. “I was fine up to 1.90m but I was rushing the jumps at 1.93m.”

While Lake is an established name, that could not be said about 19-year-old Alice Hopkins who was competing in the long jump.

During the week her request to compete in the British senior championships was turned down as her PB was just 6.00m.

However, she immediately showed better form with a 6.13m leap and then sailed out to a sensational 6.48m aided by a perfect 2mps following wind. She also backed that up with a leap in the six thirties and now ranked seventh in the UK will mean she can compete in the jumps as well as the hurdles which she had already been accepted for.

“I knew I could jump a PB but not that far!” she said. “I felt good but when I jumped the 6.48m I thought it was more around 6.20m. I have changed coaches and last year I couldn’t compete because of a stress fracture so I have been careful with competition. I am also training for the hurdles and heptathlon.”

Shannon Hylton impressed with a clear win in the under-23 100m in a PB 11.44. After returning from injury, this was just her third competition of the year.

Worlds standards secured

The under-20 100m title was also won by a big margin as Kristal Awuah won gold in 11.50 to just miss her PB but go well inside the World U20s standard of 11.60.

The men’s junior title was more competitive with Chad Miller winning in a legal PB of 10.35. Also inside the World U20s qualifying mark were Dominic Ashwell with 10.40 and Kaie Chambers-Brown with 10.41.

There was a dramatic under-20 men’s 3000m which was effectively a 2000m jog a 600m warm up and then a 400m race. The whole field plodded through 2000m in 6:32 and then Rory Leonard sprinted hard at the bell. Cardiff’s James Vincent eased past in the straight thanks to a 56-second last lap but Leonard, trying to close a gap inside of him as he tired, collided with Conor Smith and both fell just before the line, costing them certain medals.

“I felt comfortable with the pace and the fast finish as I’ve been doing 800m and 1500m races and that’s my biggest win to date,” said Vincent.

The under-23 5000m saw Emile Cairess catch early leader John Millar during the second kilometre which he covered in 2:47 to go ahead on 5:38, but he slowed at 3000m in 8:32 and Millar had caught him with a mile to go. Millar led into the straight but Cairess pulled away for an easy victory.

The under-23 women’s 1500m was run as a straight final and in a disappointing paced race, a 67-second last lap sufficed for victory for Megan Davies.

In the under-23 3000m steeplechase a fast last lap for Mark Pearce gave him victory over Matthew Seddon, the brother of UK No.1 Zak.

Molly Caudery was one of a small number of athletes to surpass the World U20s qualifying mark as her 4.20m pole vault under-20 victory booked her place for Finland.

Other field athletes to impress included Sarah Omoregie, who won the under-20 shot with a 14.22m throw, while Lewis Byng won the men’s title with a 17.31m throw.

» See the June 21 edition of AW magazine for further reports, pictures and results