Athletics: Harlow athletes gain experience at London Indoor Games

London Indoor Games, January 5/6

THERE was some early new year cheer for Harlow club athletes as a small number took part in the London Indoor Games and performed well. The event provides a good barometer as to how winter training is going and the standard is high without being a championship event. There was even more spice to the occasion as invited teams from across Europe were once again invited to take part; there was representation from Malta, Israel and Lithuania, in addition to athletes from across the London region.

Four athletes stepped up to make their debuts as U17s and performed well:

Marley Sarling and Freddie Henderson ran the 60m and 200m events. The format for 60m saw unseeded races go to a series of graded finals. Freddie set himself a new PB of 7.67s for the shorter distance and was third in the C race. And Marley was also third in the B race. His time of 7.34s smashed his previous best. To put this achievement in some perspective, Shemar Boldiszar, who is now in the GB programme ran, 7.28s at the same stage in his development as an athlete.

Both young men waited patiently for the 200m very much later in the day and their patience was rewarded by two more good performances. Henderson set himself a new PB in 25.31 and is well-placed to hit his target of a sub 25s time this season. Sarling was only fractionally outside of his best 200m performance with a time of 24.64. Once again, both were third in their respective heats.

James Petty ran his first competitive 400m race, having only run one ‘festival’ 400m at the end of his time as an U15 athlete. He was in the third heat and was third with an impressive debut time of 56.7s. With times such as these he will be a welcome addition to the men’s team in the summer.

There was only one U17 woman present, Grace Iyinbor. She ran in the hurdles and her first run saw her compete in the E race the second time around. In this race she went under ten seconds for the first time, in 9.88s and was third. The second run was much more assured and she demonstrated to herself that she will cope with the increased distance between barriers that the step up in age brings.

At Under 15 level there were only two Harlow athletes involved and both, like the U17s, were making their debuts at the new age group:

Mia Rowan went in the 60m hurdles. This is the hardest transition for any female athlete as not only does the spacing change, but also the barrier height does so too. In the best of her two runs she clocked 10.56s and looks set for a decent outdoor season.

Meanwhile, Sophia Bridle was in long jump action in her first outing as an U15. Perhaps she was a little daunted by being around older girls and having the mantel as ending last year as the UK’s No.1 U13 jumper; she managed a best jump of 4.74m in a huge field. However, there were signs in a marginal no jump that she will be back around the five metre mark come the summer season. Both girls then took part in the 200m. Bridle was in the third of the seeded races and was third in a very good time of 28.36s and Rowan won the fifth race in a new PB time of 29.40s.

Afterwards, club chair Steve Lott said; “I would have liked to see a few more get out and compete and this seems to be a constant battle that we, and other clubs, have. However, well done to all six who did compete. Their times and distances suggest that they are all on track to have good outdoor seasons and will step up well to their new age groups.”

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