Herts Phoenix Athletic Club had its best-ever representation at the prestigious British Championships last weekend when 7 athletes were invited to take part by UK Athletics. Held at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, the event doubled as trials for the upcoming European Championships in Berlin leading to a strong turnout of the top stars of British track and field.
First up of the club’s athletes on the opening day’s action was 18 year old SAM WOODLEY. Sam, this year’s Southern Junior Discus Champion has thrown the 1.75kg discus 55.62m,2 but here was throwing the heavier 2kg implement and achieved a best distance of 46.07m for 11th place.
EDEN DAVIS, club record holder at 100m and 200m lined up in the heats of the 100m. The 19 year old, last year’s Maccabiah Games Champion, placed 4th in a time of 10.83 secs, someway down on his PB of 10.46, and did not progress to the next round. Winner of this heat, Confidence Lawson, went on to place 8th in the final.
The cut-throat nature of the competition was illustrated in the women’s 400m heats, where only the winner of each was guaranteed a spot in the final together with 4 fastest losers. World Indoor relay bronze medallist, HANNAH WILLIAMS, now 20, ran a strong race to come home 2nd behind the experienced Emily Diamond in 53.31 secs. This time made Hannah the 5th fastest loser, so unfortunately she failed to make the final by 0.22 secs.
There was more misfortune for LAUREN THOMPSON, 26, in the 400m Hurdles. Ranked number 5 in the country after her 57.32 Southern Champs win, she looked set for a good showing here, but having picked up a hamstring injury was unable to start in her heat. That time of 57.32 would have been good enough for 4th in the eventual final.
Another 18 year old, new club member, KHAHISA MHLANGA, reigning English Schools 800m Champion, ran in the heats of that event and placed 5th with 2:06.34 in a heat featuring GB World Champs representatives, Shelayna Oskan-Clarke and Adelle Tracey. Earlier this season Khahisa improved her PB to 2:04.34.
The second day’s action for the club was kicked off by 25 year old ELOISE MEAKINS, another of the clubs’ Southern Champions, who placed 6th in the Javelin with a best throw of 44.59 metres,some 2.5 metres down on her season’s best.
Last in action for the club, and the most successful, was Olympian JODIE WILLIAMS. Running in the 200m event, Jodie, now based in Phoenix, Arizona, qualified with a heat win and then finished 3rd in the final behind Beth Dobbin – Scottish record of 22.59 – and namesake Bianca Williams. Jodie’s time of 22.78 demonstrated she is getting back, aged 24, to her past form which saw a stellar junior career being followed by silver medals at European and Commonwealth Champs and representing GB at Olympics in Rio.