Junior stars shine at Watford BMC Grand Prix – AW

    Quality performances across the events as a slew of athletes obtain standards for the European U18 Champs in Slovakia and World U20 Championships in Peru

    BMC World Athletics Challenger Grand Prix saw a top line-up of athletes go head-to-head at Woodside Stadium in Watford on Saturday (June 8), Stephen Green reports.

    The women’s 800m saw Brazil’s Flavia Marida de Lima edge local favourite Ellie Baker by three hundredths in 2:01.26 to 2:01.29, with Deborah Rodriguez of Uruguay in third in 2:01.99.

    Reece Sharman-Newell returned his second BMC triumph of 2024 with a convincing 1:46.53 800m win ahead of Henry Fisher (1:47.16) and Grant Grosvenor of the USA (1:47.58). Earlier in the evening Justin Davies scorched to a PB of 1:46.71 ahead of David Locke (1:48.35) and Ben Gardiner (1:48.46).

    Reece Sharman-Newell (David Lowes)

    William Rabjohns broke new ground in the C race, clocking 1:48.08 for a PB and world under-20 standard. In the D race Matthew McKenna edged Rocco Zaman-Browne, setting a PB and European under-18 mark of 1:48.81, with Jack Kinrade also setting a Slovakia qualifying time of 1:50.74.

    Joe Wigfield continued his progress with a serene 3:37.46 1500m, not far outside his PB and season’s best of 3:36.67, following the pace through 800m in around 1:57 and running solo in the second half of the race. In his wake a fast-finishing Tyler Bilyard returned PB figures of 3:39.71, just ahead of James Dunn (3:39.86). Liam Conway was another U18 qualifier on the night as he clocked 3:48.03.

    George Couttie in sixth was well within the world under-20 standard with a PB of 3:40.56. The B race also featured a stellar run from under-23 Osian Perrin (3:39.20) with Henry Jonas 3:41.72 also within the guidelines. Under-17 athletes Katie Pye (4:20.01) and Isla McGowan (4:21.53) were both under the Slovakia requirements.

    Ava Lloyd (David Lowes)

    The standout race of the day was the women’s 1500m where a close finish saw under-20 Ava Lloyd prevail over Sarah Calvert and Aussie Jaylah Hancock–Cameron, with a stunning six second PB of 4:12.07 and a world under-20 qualifying time. Afterwards a delighted Lloyd, expressed how she benefits from training with Jenny Meadows and Trevor Painter’s group which includes Keely Hodgkinson, Erin Wallace and Sarah Healy.

    Philippa Bowden explained how she ran to ‘feel’ rather than ‘time’ in resisting the early pace set by under-20 Innes FitzGerald then by Alex Millard in the women’s 5000m, to storm home clear in the final 100m with a PB of 14:32.45, with Millard second (15:37.09) and Hannah Irwin setting a new best of 15:37.45 in third. FitzGerald held her form to a 15:39.97 PB, to meet the requirements for Lima as she became the fourth fastest British under-20 woman in history.

    Philippa Bowden (David Lowes)

    Tomer Tarragano did a similar job in the men’s 5000m, with the early pace being set by Sawan Barwal of India, then Alfie Manthorpe and Cameron Allen. An inspired final 400m, saw Tarragano break the tape with a new best of 13:44.62, going under 14 minutes for the first time, with Manthorpe second (13:47.61) and Allen third (13:50.08). Twelve men broke 14 minutes underlining the strength in depth of the domestic 5000m scene.

    In the men’s 3000m steeplechase Daniel Alvarez De La Cruz (Spain) was a runway winner in a PB of 8:39.87.

    “This meet was remarkable in rather than having one or two standout races, the strength in depth was outstanding, with the high number of European under-18 and world under-20 standards, plus a 38% PB rate providing a real sign of the strength of BMC races and the British distance running scene as whole,” said BMC GP director Tim Brennan.

    Results can be found here and a link to the races via Vinco Sport

    The BMC GP moves on to the third fixture of the series at Loughborough on June 22.

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