Athletics: Good Old Sussex by the Sea helps Harlow AC

Athletics / Sun 9th May 2021 at 12:14pm

RUNNING quicker, jumping and throwing higher and further than your opponents is always the purpose of athletics. This year, it is more relevant as the remodelled season, with Covid guidelines, means that age group championships will be limited to the top twenty-four track athletes and the top sixteen field athletes only. And with restrictions to all events in place it has proven difficult to get into races for athletes.

Harlow AC and other clubs from across London, the South East and Anglia were grateful to Sussex for opening up spots to non-Sussex club members at the annual Sussex Festival of Athletics, held in Crawley on Saturday. Two Harlow athletes went down to compete, as they seek U20 national qualification; James Petty in the 400m and Marley Sarling in the 200m.

Unfortunately, the weather conditions were not as generous as the hosts and gusty winds denied the opportunity for the fast times that all are seeking as athletes bid to be in the all-important qualifying spots. James Petty was first on track and he was in a very strong field. He lined up against Jamal Rhoden-Stevens, of Shaftesbury Barnet and Great Britain, who has already clocked 46.77s this season. Rhoden-Stevens was not immune to the conditions and won the race in 48.98s. James McCulloch, of Crawley AC and U20 was second in 51.45s and Petty was third in 51.99s, taking him to thirtieth in the rankings. Whilst neither Under 20’s time made the top twenty-four, both can console themselves with the fact that they beat Theo Adasina, an emerging talent in Decathlon, and Steve Kasparis, running for Brighton and also Cyprus.

Marley Sarling was in the second of three heats in the 200m. The top heat was won by Aaron Carter, a senior athlete of Crawley, in a time of 22.09s. Significantly, the four other finishers did so in times slower than the all Under 20 top three in Sarling’s heat. Sarling was in Lane 2 and got off to an excellent start, eating into the ‘bend advantage’ held by those outside of him. He was neck and neck with Olu Esan, of Crawley and the highest ranked competitor in the field, with twenty metres to go but couldn’t sustain his pace to the end and Esan pulled ahead. Daniel Tewogbade, club compatriot to Esan, took advantage of Sarling’s exertions to slip through for second place on the line. Sarling’s third placed time of 23.20s is a season’s best and takes him to thirty-second spot on the U20 chart.

Next for Harlow athletes is the Loughborough Open on Wednesday 12 May. Shemar Boldizsar will be competing at both 100m and 200m. At the same venue and on the same day, Beth Harryman will be competing in a closed competition bringing together the top eight UK based multi-event female performers. They will be competing in three Heptathlon events only as selection heats up for both the delayed Olympics and next year’s Commonwealth Games. 

Full provisional results for the Sussex Festival of Athletics can be found here: https://twitter.com/sussexaa?lang=en  

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