Essex & Eastern Indoor Championships, Lee Valley, 4th & 5th February 2017
Athletes and spectators were left frustrated on Sunday as a local power cut forced the second day of the Essex & Eastern Championships to be abandoned on health & safety grounds, resulting in wasted journeys and missed competition and medal chances.
Club Chairman Tony Benton said "The power went off about half an hour into the meeting, causing the lights, and electric timing to go off. The organisers decided to carry on as long as possible using manual timing and with natural light but when there was no promise of the power being restored the venue management decided that they had no choice but to close on safety grounds as there was no running water supply, or toilet facilities, nor any communications system."
The club were heading for another successful weekend before the premature halt to proceedings.
There were two medals and a glut of personal bests for the hurdles squad on Saturday. Lucy Bailey's dip for the line brought her Essex silver in the senior 60m hurdles race and Mayi Hughes' fine form brought her Under 17 hurdles bronze. She improved her best to 9.06s in wining her heat, took the semi final in 9.13s before improving to 9.03s for third in a high quality race. Behind her the fast improving Grace Newson improved her best in heat (9.31s), semi (9.28s) and final (9.23s) to place fifth in her first year in the age group. Elize Bonning smashed her best in winning her Under 15 hurdles heat with 9.64s and was fifth in the final with 9.68s.
The shot putters were also in fine form, winning three medals on Saturday. Elysha Thatcher-Gray stepped up to the Under 20 ranks to take Essex silver in 9.29m, while Philippa Gill's indoor best of 10.92m won her bronze in the Under 17 equivalent. A third shot medal went to Under 15 John Ryan with his 10.31m PB putt and he earned the judges' plaudits for sportingly consoling a fellow competitor who was upset in his first major competition. Tee Quinlivan won the county senior pole vault title to complete the medal roster on Day 1.
On Sunday before the meeting was abandoned with over five hours still to go Alex Law defended his county title in the senior long jump with his 6.35m, and Shandell Taylor added Under 20 long jump gold with his 6.41m leap. With few finals contested the only other club athletes able to have a crack at medals came in the Under 13 200m final where Jacob Blanc & Jack Botha claimed gold & Essex silver respectively in a straight final.
Tony Benton concluded “It was frustrating for those athletes who were warmed up and ready to compete when the meeting was abandoned – several of them had medals hopes and others were looking forward to their first major competition. But it was an exceptional situation and I can't recall this ever happening in my 48 years in athletics!"
Results (Positions in Essex Champs)
Senior Women: 60m Hurdles: 2nd Lucy Bailey 9.30s; Pole Vault 1st Tee Quinlivan (V35) 2.30m;
U20 Women: Shot 2nd Elysha Thatcher-Gray 9.29m
U17 Women: 60m: heat: Lydia Mwanza 8.80s; Mary Igbinosa-Ighile 8.80s; 300m: Amma Apau 51.83s PB; 60m Hurdles: 3rd Mayi Hughes 9.03s PB (Ht: 9.06s PB, semi: 9.13m); 5th Grace Newson 9.23s PB (Heat: 9.31s PB & Semi 9.28s PB) Heats: Isabella Purdie 9.68s PB & semi: 9.81s; Millie Hodges: heat 9.74s & semi 9.76s; Shot 3rd Philippa Gill 10.92m; 9th - Chimdi Okpalauko 9.06m
U15 Girls: 60m: heat: Isabella Smith 8.67 PB 60m Hurdles 5th Eliza Bonning 9.68s (Heat: 9.64s PB);
U13 Girls: 200m: heat: Olivia Sorrell 31.1s PB; Karina Hudson 31.9s PB; Long Jump 9th Uche Okpalauko 3.12m
Senior Men: 60m heat Sydney Conteh 7.68s; 200m Heat: Karl Tucker 23.7s Long Jump 1st Alex Law 6.35m;
U20 Men: 200m heat: Shandell Taylor 24.2 PB Long Jump 1st Shandell Taylor 6.41m
U17 Men: 60m Heat JJ Morris 7.56s PB; Tobi Idowu 7.73s PB
U15 Boys: 60m Heat John Ryan 8.24s 200m heat: Daragh Thomas 28.0s PB Shot 3rd John Ryan 10.31m PB; Long Jump 5th Somto Okpalauko 5.28m; 10th Ashton Thatcher-Gray 4.18m
U13 Boys: 200m: heat: 1st Jacob Blanc 28.3s PB; 2nd Jack Botha 31.0s PB
Pics: Tony Benton, Ian Law, Debbie Bailey, Rikki Botha