Power cut brings athletics meet to premature end at Lee Valley

By YA Reporter in Athletics

Athletes and spectators were left frustrated on Sunday as a power cut forced the second day of the Essex & Eastern Championships at Lee Valley to be abandoned on health & safety grounds, resulting in wasted journeys and missed competition and medal chances.

Havering AC chairman Tony Benton said: “The power went off about half an hour into the meeting, causing the lights, and electric timing to go off. The organisers decided to carry on as long as possible using manual timing and with natural light, but when there was no promise of the power being restored the venue management decided that they had no choice but to close on safety grounds as there was no running water supply, or toilet facilities, nor any communications system.”

The club was heading for another successful weekend before the premature halt to proceedings.

There were two medals and a glut of personal bests for the hurdles squad on Saturday. Lucy Bailey’s dip for the line brought her Essex silver in the senior 60m hurdles race and Mayi Hughes’ fine form brought her Under 17 hurdles bronze. She improved her best to 9.06s in wining her heat, took the semi final in 9.13s before improving to 9.03s for third in a high quality race.

The shot putters were also in fine form, winning three medals on Saturday. Elysha Thatcher-Gray stepped up to the Under 20 ranks to take Essex silver in 9.29m, while Philippa Gill’s indoor best of 10.92m won her bronze in the Under 17 equivalent. A third shot medal went to Under 15 John Ryan with his 10.31m PB putt.Tee Quinlivan won the county senior pole vault title to complete the medal roster on Day 1.

On Sunday before the meeting was abandoned Alex Law defended his county title in the senior long jump with his 6.35m, and Shandell Taylor added Under 20 long jump gold with his 6.41m leap. With few finals contested the only other club athletes able to have a crack at medals came in the Under 13 200m final where Jacob Blanc & Jack Botha claimed gold & Essex silver in a straight final.

Josh Olawore opened his 2017 indoor account by setting a new club indoor 60m record at Lee Valley on Wednesday. Competing for Bath University in an Inter-Varsity match the 21-year-old MA student clocked a career best of 6.88s to break Matt Russell’s record set in 2004.

Michelle Hughes was also in record form for Harvard University in the USA competing on their home Gordon Field venue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Just a few days after celebrating her 19th birthday, Michelle improved her 60m hurdles best to 8.75s to improve the club Under 20 best, to add to her indoor pentathlon record from two weeks ago. She also came within a centimetre of her club long jump record with a 5.85m best jump.

Jess Mitchell had the best win of her career when taking the honours for Essex Schools in the South East Schools Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Brands Hatch on Saturday.

She came home almost 100m clear of the Intermediate Girls’ field in 15m 4 secs, with teammate Kate O’Neill 30 seconds back in fourth (15:34). With Molly Sweetman 13th (15:57) and Sophie Rand 36th (16:28), it was a good day all round for the club quartet. Sydney Foley was a fine 18th in the Junior Girls race clocking 11:44.

Harry Jones was first of the club trio home in the Inter Boys’ event with 19:09 and Sam Atkins (19:44) and Alex Friend (19:59) also flew the club flag for the Essex team.

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