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Last updated 10 September 2017

UK Youth Development League 2017 - U13/U15

2 September 2017 - U13/15 Final - Birmingham

Congratulations! They came 2nd in the final.

Full results here...

Photos start here...

Blackheath and Bromley Harriers Athletics Club are officially the best young athletes track and field team in Great Britain having competed in both lower and upper finals in Birmingham over the weekend.

BBBHAC were the only club to have teams in both finals and while our LAG (lower age group) U13 and U15 boys and girls placed a fantastic second in their final, the UAG (upper age group) went one better winning their final, securing a place in the European final, completing a historic weekend for the club.

The UAG girls were current champions and excelled once again to retain the title but the UAG boys were outstanding and went one better than last year to grab the title for themselves and in doing so earning the right to represent Great Britain in the European Champions Clubs Cup Final in 2018 along side our girls. Britain has never had just one club representing them in both boys and girls and this represents a massive achievement.

BBHAC LAG team qualified for their final as South region runners up to Southampton AC and were also up against the Scottish champions and last years runners up Edinburgh AC, along with the other best club teams from across Great Britain. The competition was fierce and four teams crept ahead with Southampton leading early on followed by North region champions Sale Harriers, BBHAC and Edinburgh. As the afternoon progressed BBHAC and Sale pulled level in front with Southampton dropping back to 3rd. With the final few events being contested and no one club dominating the result was going to be tight.

A tense wait for the final results saw Edinburgh AC 4th with 536 points, Southampton in 3rd with 594.5 points, BBHAC second with 599 points and Sale 1st with 602 points proving what an exciting and tense competition it had been. Just 71/2 points separated the top three teams and only three points between BBHAC and Sale. A truly memorable final.

There were many outstanding moment including Holly Mpassy’s impressive 300m race, earning her the “Norma Blaine MBE Award” for the most outstanding performance of the day and Lily Meers had the stadium on their feet as she showed so much guts and determination in holding off her rival for most of her 1200m, with the last 100m being the most exciting end of the race, that saw Lily win by the smallest of margins. It brought a lump to most people's throat.

The U13 boys as ever were a tight bunch and supported each other well through the ups and downs of a National final. Being multi talented Oles Chaban and Emmanuel Oniwinde were on hand all day warmed up and ready to go at short notice if needed in any event. They shadowed the boys during warm up and Oles even provided replacement spikes when one of the boys realised that most of his had fallen out!!

First out on the field were Oliver Robertson and Ethan Alapafuja in the high jump. Ethan, in only his third high jump competition ever jumped well equalling his personal best as did Oliver before dashing off for the start of the hurdles. Oliver is ranked 4th in the country over 75m hurdles and was all fired up for his race but unfortunately hit the first hurdle moving at pace and stumbled losing a bit of ground, recovered well but was disappointed to just miss out on the medals. Undeterred Oliver ran back to the high jump competition where the bar had risen considerably and was now at a new PB height. Oliver had two great attempts at it but had to settle for an equal PB and silver, still impressive in the circumstances. In the shot putt Ben Platt just missed out on a medal with his 7.12m throw. Sprinter Tom Afelumo made his field event debut putting the shot over 8m to win his first medal of the day, a silver.

Matt Smith back on the road to recovery lined up for the B string hurdles having missed a good chunk of training and despite a shaky start finished well securing more valuable points for the club.

Connor Sutton began his busy day breaking the 26 sec barrier again but just losing out on gold by the narrowest of margins 5/100ths. Tom Afelumo ran the B string for his first competitive 200m and our faith in what we had seen him do in training paid off as he stormed to victory also going under 26 seconds, winning gold by nearly 2 seconds.

Ben Platt was back in action again in the javelin and was rewarded for his effort in training with a big new PB of 33.87. Josh Buddle Smith has also been javelin training regularly and his improvement of over 1m earned him a great silver medal in the B string.

Next up on the track were the 800m boys and regular team members Max Gregson and Jake Anthony once again showed their class both running hard and winning fabulous silver medals.

The sprinters were back on the track and both Connor and Tom dominated the 100m taking full honours winning gold with Tom posting a quick new PB.

With little time to recover Oliver and Connor were back out competing in the long jump. Connor on somewhat of a high soared out to a fantastic new personal best of 4.68m nearly half meter improvement and a fine bronze in the A string. Oliver had a great opportunity to make up for his disappointment in the hurdles and didn't waste the opportunity leaping to gold in the B string with a 4.47 jump.

Ben Campbell and George Shaw had waited patiently all day for their opportunity to shine and they both did with Ben digging deep to run a best ever 4:53.81 a big new PB. George ran a well paced race keeping in touch throughout and had the determination to pip his rival on the line and was rewarded with gold in the B string and a huge new best smashing the 5 minute barrier for the first time clocking 4:56.60.

Last event of the day for the U13 boys was the 4 x 100m relay and with Connor and Tom in great form and joined by Ethan fresh from the high jump and multi talented Oliver, surely all they had to do was to get the baton around safely to secure a win. This is exactly what they did and in a superb season best time of 52.39. The relays are always exciting, riskey and are on a knife edge as the U13 boys from Sale proved after being disqualified for an infringement.

A fantastic 16 medals won in total, three golds and a silver for Tom, two golds, silver and bronze for Connor, two golds and silver for Oliver gold for Ethan, gold for George, and slivers for Max, Jake and Josh. Plus loads of personal bests and season’s bests all helped contribute to a tremendous team result and if we all keep on training over the winter, next year we will be another great position to compete to be the the best junior club in the country. Well done all.

This weekend's travel and hotel accommodation was solely organised by John Reardon and he had the difficult task of coordinating 8 teams requests along with coaches, team managers and parents requests. This very stressful job was John’s first time doing this for the club and we hope it won’t be the last, because we all got to Birmingham comfortably (despite the traffic), we all eat, we all slept and we all had a packed lunch. Job done and a massive thanks go to John for giving up all his time, voluntarily doing a thankless task that not many people could do even if they did have the time. Thank you John.

We wouldn’t have been able to achieved as much as we have without the great support we’ve had from BB club officials, coaches, team managers, parents, grandparents, families and friends and a special thank you goes to Marco for all the time, care and effort he has put into the LAG teams over the last three years. Marco in his role as winter captain fully embraced the task of mentoring out young athletes through the highs and lows of our sport and has been a constant presence throughout the year, summer and winter, track and field and cross country . Marco has been (and still is) a fantastic role model for our young athletes and he will be massively missed as he embarks upon his university pathway. We hope to see Marco during terms breaks but wish him all the very best for his time at Durham University.


Photos from Jay Galley

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