The final “hybrid” version of this season’s COVID affected NAL fixtures took place at the Stonex Stadium (Barnet Copthall) on Saturday. Woodford had a weakened team with some gaps (as did the other teams) across the board due to injuries, illness or more general unavailability. Team wise Woodford finished 3rd on the day and full divisional results are outstanding but Woodford went into this final round of fixtures in 4th place nationally amongst the 16 Premier Division Clubs in the NAL and subject to confirmation look likely to have remained in 4th place. However, despite the weakened squad there were some outstanding individual performances including personal bests for U/20’s Nabil Tezkratt, Yemi Mary John, Gwen Datey, Jessica Adams, Medwin Odamtten and Merveilles Massembo, together with an outstanding 4x100m performance from the women’s team which consisted of three U/20 and one U/17 athlete and bettered the Woodford U/20 record which had stood for 24 years by 0.75 secs. It was also pleasing to see Commonwealth Games steeplechase finalist Adam Kirk-Smith back in action for the Club.
WGEL Juniors went to Kingston to take part in the U/17's, U/15's & U/13's South of England Championships and didn't disappoint, with some fine performances.
Watch Abigail Reid take gold in the U15 Girls 1500m
Alex Foster was in fantastic form and he seems to have no limits to his success. He ran the sprint double, the 100m qualifying 1st in his heat 3 with 12.51sec, and went on to claim GOLD with a time of 12.26sec. After this his 200m was just as impressive, with 2nd in heat 2 in 25.99sec, and claiming a SILVER in the final with 24.68sec. Thomas Niewczasinski-Kirkland claimed a BRONZE medal in the long jump with 4m 89cm. In the U/15 Boys there were 2 representatives, both in the 800m. Oscar Farthing-Barbero & Nate Harding were both in heat 1, with Oscar finishing in 5th place in 2:10.80 and Nate in 2:17.67. The U/17 Men saw the Richards brothers compete in the 400m and 1500m respectively. Ben ran the 400m in heat 2 and finished 4th with 54.49sec and Max was 7th in a straight final of the 1500m with a new PB of 4:13.97. Meanwhile Reuben Fabian was 8th in heat 2 of the 800m with 2min 11.43sec.
There were several club athletes competing at the Manchester international, representing four of the competing teams. However among the overall winners was Cameron Fillery in the 110m hurdles, competing as a guest, in 13.80. Competing for Northern Ireland, Ellen McCartney won the pole vault in 4.12, just 3cm short of her PB despite difficult conditions and competing against several athletes who had jumped higher this year. Another in the Northern Ireland vest, in a welcome return to high level competition and competing for the first time since rejoining WGEL first claim, was Adam Kirk-Smith. Adam ran an intelligently paced raced, allowing a front group following a fast tempo to break away before closing strongest of all to finish 3rd in 8:49.74, his fastest since 2018 when finished 8th in the Commonwealth Games.
Youcef Zatat was the only WGEL athlete competing for the National Athletics League team. He showed he is recovering from the injury that kept him out of the Olympic trials, with his 17.66 enough for 2nd (behind Tokyo Olympian Scott Lincoln, who is a former Woodford HCA and whose 20.81 was his best in this country). Competing for the England under-20 team, Precious Hamilton made her international debut and took 3rd in the junior women’s discus in 40.16. Another in the England U20 vest, Nabil Tezkratt, ran an impressive first leg in the junior 4x400m to set up an easy win. Despite running leg 1 and in a long stagger race for the first time, Nabil’s split of 48.50 was the fastest of any athlete in the junior race. Yemi Mary John also led out her England under 20 4x400m team, and like Nabil while being drawn on the inside ran past the other teams despite the long stagger, though her quartet lost out to a Scottish junior record. Mary had earlier run a close third in the senior event in the individual 400m, representing the Great Britain under 20 team, just failing to come through at the end, in 54.03, as the top 2 with 53.96 could only be separated by thousandths.
Tonight (18/08/21) at Ashton Playing Fields, the U/11's training squad organised by Sam Wintle & Joe Everitt was very pleased to present Jessica Adams (Young Athlete Helper, centre) with her gift of a personalised mug and sports voucher. Jessica has really excelled in this role and has now actually taken 52 hours of coaching the under 11's, which equates to a year's training. This is a tremendous achievement for Jessica as she has also gone on to volunteer with track and field officiating using the EDM machine, taking this in her stride, and also helping out with the photo finish equipment. WGEL AC were very pleased to offer this small token of appreciation for what she has given back to the club over this period of time.