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Harry Aikines-Aryeetey

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey was one of the many athletes able to return to competition. Image: Still Sport Photography.

Athletes shine at latest Loughborough competition

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Loughborough University hosted one of the very few domestic indoor athletics competitions over the weekend, abiding by strict COVID protocols to allow athletes an opportunity to qualify and prepare for the upcoming European Indoor Championships in March.

Andy Robertson (Sale Harriers) started the day on Saturday with a win in the 60m, running 6.61, a European Indoor qualifying mark and his fastest time for the distance since 2017. He was followed across the line in both series of races by former Loughborough student Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Sutton & District, coach: Benke Blomkvist) running 6.71 and 6.73. They will both be aiming to go even faster at next weekend’s European Trials in Lee Valley.

The women’s 60m was won by Loughborough scholar and Scottish record holder Alisha Rees (Edinburgh AC/LSAC, Leon Baptiste) in a season’s best 7.37, running marginally faster in the second round in 7.36. In the women’s B Race, Loughborough based World and Paralympic Champion Sophie Hahn (Charnwood AC, Leon Baptiste) ran close to her PB in 8.01.

In the 60m hurdles scholar Megan Marrs (WSE&H/LSAC, Alex Nwenwu) ran an equal PB and Northern Irish record of 8.14 in her first round of the 60m hurdles, going even faster with 8.12 in the second. The European qualifying mark of 8.10 will be in her sights next weekend. Ethan Akanni (Bexley/LSAC, Jerzy Maciukiewicz) clattered a couple of hurdles in his first round run, but rectified this with a closely run second round win, with Loughborough-based James Weaver (Enfield & Haringey, Michael Baker) pushing him all the way. They were both rewarded with PBs of 7.78, with 0.001s splitting the pair on the dip.  

Day two was an opportunity for the field eventers to show their form. Scholar Molly Caudery (Thames Valley/LSAC, Scott Simpson), the National Junior record holder for pole vault, welcomed a return to form with her 4.30m clearance, her best height since 2018 and an indoor PB. In second place, former Loughborough student and 2019 BUCS Champion Tilly Hooper (Birchfield, Henrietta Paxton) vaulted an overall PB of 4.20m to take second place. Charlie Myers (Birtley, Chris Boundy) cleared an indoor PB of 5.65m on his first attempt, though sadly missed the next bar of 5.72m which would have been the elusive European Qualifying mark.

There were straight forward wins for Abigail Irozuru (Sale Harriers) 6.31m in the women’s long jump, Scott Lincoln (City of York, Paul Wilson) 20.06m in the shot and Jacob Fincham-Dukes (Leeds, Zivile Pukstiene) 7.81m in the men’s long jump, as well as Nathan Douglas (Oxford City, Aston Moore), and Jahisha Thomas (Blackheath & Bromley, John Shepherd) in the triple jump, posting marks of 15.45m and 12.89m.

In the high jump, scholars Will Grimsey (WGEL/LSAC, Fuzz Caan) and Morgan Lake (WSE&H/LSAC, Caan) both took victory in their respective fields with 2.16m and 1.88m. Also competing in the men’s competition was former Loughborough student and Para World Champion Jonathan Broom-Edwards (Newham, Graham Ravenscroft), jumping 2.12m for his best jump since 2017, fantastic form as he goes into Paralympic year.

Full Results:

Track - Results (thepowerof10.info)

Field - Results (thepowerof10.info)

Elsewhere around the UK and the world, Loughborough athletes have been negotiating travel restrictions to have great success this 2021 indoor season.

Loughborough Scholar and MSc Student Holly Bradshaw (Blackburn/LSAC, Scott Simpson) travelled to France at the end of January to commence a period of quarantine to allow her to compete in two meetings there. The World Championships finalist took advantage of the celebrated ‘Perche’ pole vault meeting to vault a world class 4.85m, her second best vault ever, and highest vault since setting her British record in 2012. A temporary world lead after winning the meet, she remains ranked 3rd in the world for 2021 behind world medallists Sandi Morris and Anzhelika Siderova who have gone on to vault 4.88m and 4.87m respectively.

Scholar and PhD student Jamie Webb (Liverpool Harriers/LSAC, Adrian Webb/Matt Yates) has raced in three countries since January, running an indoor 800m PB every time he steps onto the track. Webb’s most recent run out was in New York on the 13th February, where he was placed 2nd only to World Champion Donavan Brazier. His time of 1:46.26 is a European Indoor Qualifying mark, and places him 10th in the world rankings so far this season.

Scholars Alex Haydock-Wilson (WSE&H/LSAC, Baker) and Chris O’Donnell (Newham/LSAC, Baker) took the far shorter journey to Manchester for one of the only other domestic track meets of the season, competing in the Bryggen Sports Invitational. Irish International O’Donnell backed up his 47.39 from France earlier in February to run 47.67 on the 4 lane SportCity track, with 2020 BUCS Indoor Champion Haydock-Wilson running marginally faster in 47.66.

Finally, it was a welcome return to track running for Loughborough scholar and Ben Pattison (Basingstoke, Dave Ragan), also competing in the Bryggen Invitational in Manchester. Running in his first ever indoor 800m, the European U20 Silver medallist ran 1:49.04 behind Commonwealth Games medallist Kyle Langford’s 1:48.96.

Written by Emma Wiltshire.

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