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Weekend round-up 18-19th June
The season is picking up for the senior athletes in the group with the impending Olympic trials next weekend. Whilst for the younger ones, u23 and u20 nationals were the focus this past weekend together with a schools inter-county match. The meetings come thick and fast and I start to moan about never having the time to cut the grass and getting stuck on motorways. Why does it take so long to get anywhere these days? Er, I’m digressing, better get back to the athletics.
On Sunday I was at Bedford for the England u23 and u20 champs. The group has had good success at these over the years with numerous victories and medal placings. This year, however, was the first time we won an u23 title. Oliver Newport freshly back from Louisville University on the Friday (well, not actually freshly back as he was jet-lagged) jumped 7.43m to win the title. Oliver jumped well and looks to have a much longer jump in him (he has already jumped 7.78m this year in the US). His timing at take-off and his flight technique need improving, but after not competing for about a month and accounting for the jet-lag it was a good performance nonetheless.
Oliver, along with the Jonathan’s (Grant and Ilori) will be competing in the Olympic trials next weekend. Jonathan I will be doing the triple – an event which compared to the long jump is wide-open at GB level for someone to make a breakthrough and pick up the mantle laid down by Philips Idowu and Jonathan Edwards. It’s 16.80m, if I recall to book a place on Team GB for Rio (that’s if you do the standard twice and win the trials). Note to self must more carefully read the selection criteria…
Oliver and Jonathan G will be doing the long jump which is on the Sunday. There were whisperings that some of the top UK’s top jumpers won’t be in Birmingham for the trials… if the sandpit grapevine is true then this event becomes more open too. It’s 8.15m (twice) I believe needed to qualify for the Olympics. There are over 15 entries for Sunday’s event so it’ll be a long comp and let’s hope for some long jumps over 8 metres. The two long jump rivals in my group have already thrown down challenges to each other. As a coach this banter is all part of the game and it’ll be interesting to see who has the bragging rights (hopefully both!).
Anyone involved in athletics will know that just as there are good performances there are bad ones and/or unlucky ones. And that was the fate that befell Pippa on Sunday. Enthused to be competing against Morgan Lake and others in the u20 long jump (note Pippa has jumped 5.87m and is a first year u17) she narrowly missed the cut after having two no-jumps – either of which would have probably got her in the top 3 at the end of the comp… 6 metres will soon come for her. Interestingly the gold and silver medals in the event were won by u18 year olds (another age group used for World and European comps, of which there’s a first ever European Youth’s this year).
However, Pippa (and I) did meet Tony Minichiello (Jess Ennis’s coach of course and coach to numerous others). Pippa loves everything Jess and she puts Jess and Tony on a bit of a pedestal. (Pippa’s resemblance to Jess is also an interesting topic of debate.). Tony was a little bemused when I said that Pippa was particularly enamoured with him!
I also mentioned that I have been following his blog, coachtorio.com
“Have you,” Tony said, “What do you think about it?”
Me: “Er… very interesting (no it actually is)”. I do read it and watch his videos. Coaches should always learn…
Tony is not afraid to say what he thinks i.e. about selection policies and PEDs. I did think and suggest (when my brain clunked into gear) that some of the athletes could also add a bit to the blog too, but it’s short, regular and to the point and entertaining for athletics’ fans; so go on take a peak. You’ll learn what PPPBs are…