A small all-female contingent of Guernsey athletes made their way to Lee Valley in North London for the annual regional South of England Indoor Championships for age groups U15/U17.
U15 Amelia Lees returned with a bronze medal and there were pleasing performances elsewhere in the sprints and hurdles.
Lees made light work of the reputed slow Lee Valley track to post a fast 44.11sec to snatch the bronze medal by 0.01sec over 300m and illustrate that she is likely to drop well into the 43’s by the end of the year.
That was the only medal for the group but there was no shortage of encouragement elsewhere.
In the 60m, U15’s Rhiannon Dowinton and Abi Tardivel kicked the weekend off with 8.59sec and 8.62sec respectively – both were huge steps forwards from their previous short indoor flat sprints. The two would go on to excel over their favoured disciplines the following day.
In the U17 category, Island Games 100m athlete Vicky Mann also posted a marked improvement over the shortest distance – clocking 8.27sec to qualify for the semi-final. This was later backed up by an 8.28sec in the semi for 6th place.
The second day brought more progress for the youngsters Dowinton and Tardivel as they both qualified through to the semi-finals of the 60m hurdles. For the former it was her first time over the U15 specification having excelled regularly over the U13 hurdles last season. In the semi-finals the girls both went quicker but were unable to sneak through to the final, clocking 9.80sec and 9.96sec respectively.
In the U17 200m, Jasmine Norman not only surpassed her own PB by over a second but also posted the fastest time by a Guernsey athlete indoors or outdoors since June 2014. Her 27.02sec run in the heat secured a semi-final berth and the youngster almost matched the performance from an extremely difficult lane 2 lane assignment – coming third in the semi in 27.13sec. The performance must give real encouragement to an athlete who has generally plied her trade over 300m and 800m up to now. The attaining of the Island Games Development Standard of 27.00sec would seem to be only a matter of time.
The event serves to kick start the indoor season and many of the athletes will be back in action at the end of the month or in February. The next indoor event is the senior edition of these championships next week, where Cameron Chalmers and Josh Allaway will be among those looking for early season form.