Joe Chadwick has already showed great age-group promise in athletics with an unexpected national U15 medal in the high jump back in 2016 – he repeated the trick of producing the unexpected with a big break-through performance in the 200m at Sunday’s Scottish U17/Senior Indoor Championships.
The 16 year old struggled to replicate his high jump heroics in 2017 as he contended with his increasing physical maturity and only managed 1.66m for =10th place in Gotland – and a transition towards the 200m was already underway. He clocked 23.01sec for the distance last summer and took Hampshire County bronze in the event, but the last time he competed in the event saw him clock 23.58sec. Therefore the sight of him strolling through his heat to his first sub-23sec clocking was somewhat of a pleasant surprise to his coach and team-mates watching on.
That was only the beginning of Chadwick’s exceptional 3-hour period of competition as he upped the ante with 22.52sec in the semi-final before his outstanding record breaking performance in the final. Clearly a little fatigued from his PB in the semi, he didn’t seem to replicate his lightning starts from the earlier rounds but once he was into his running there was no stopping him. His delight was obvious as he crossed the line with a winning time of 22.41sec – the stadium announcer proclaiming he had achieved a new Championship Best Performance. What the locals weren’t aware of was arguably a more significant achievement of erasing Nathan Stevens’ 2002 clocking of 22.5 from the Guernsey U17 record books. Chadwick also sits at the top of the UK rankings currently and will be keeping a close eye on results coming from various UK competitions between now and the national age-group championships on 24/25 February. He will look to back up his new PB at an open event in Manchester this weekend.
Josh Allaway has been the island’s most consistent short-sprinter for a number of years and produced his second, third and fourth fastest-ever clockings over 60m – ultimately coming 5th in the final. His 6.99sec in the semi-final means he is the second Sarnian to achieve two sub-7sec performances. He too will be in action in Manchester on Sunday where he will look to build on a pleasing ‘opener.’
Alastair Chalmers out-performed relay team mate Tom Druce in the 400m but both bowed out at the semi-final stages after receiving difficult lane assignments. Chalmers clocked 49.84sec in his semi having slipped to second place in his heat with 49.88. More at home over the hurdles – he will look to build race fitness over the flat distance indoors ahead of the Commonwealth Games. He enjoyed the experience of competing in his heat against his father Chris, who achieved a new PB of 62.00sec. Druce was drawn in lane 2 in his heat and ran a fast first lap before fading to 50.20 – he changed tactics for the semi-final and clocked 50.29, though he had been planning to sit out the competition due to a slight injury.
Amelia Lees was hopeful of reducing her outright PB in the 300m but was severely handicapped in the U17 heats where she was drawn in the tight inside lane – not only that but there was only one automatic qualifying spot and three fastest losers. The 16 year old acquitted herself well and came close to reeling in the heat winner but ultimately took a non-automatic qualifying spot in 41.99sec. She improved in the final to 41.96sec and came 4th – a solid weekend for her as she, like Chadwick, builds towards the nationals in late February.
Away from the established island athletes, Isaac Powers and Amelia Hart both tackled their first ever indoor competitions. Powers clocked 2:10.89 in his heat of the U17 800m, whilst U15 Hart achieved the national qualifying mark for 60m with 8.59sec and also an outright PB in the 200m of 27.94sec.
South of the border Sophie Porter produced an outstanding performance in the long jump as she missed Kimberley Goodall’s Guernsey U20 record by a mere 11cm – and Goodall’s senior mark is just 4cm further. Porter has plenty of time to attack the records as she embarks on her first year as an U20 and is displaying outstanding ability across a number of events including 200m, 400m and 400m hurdles as well as the long jump. Unfortunately on this occasion she suffered what will hopefully turn out to be a minor back issue following her long jump and had to withdraw from the 400m.
Her coach Dale Garland was however in great form over the quarter-mile and won his heat in convincing fashion with 49.59sec – one of the best performances for the veteran in recent years. His young charge Peter Curtis was unfortunate to draw lane 1 and was certainly compromised at the break after 200m as the athletes converged on him. He rallied late on and posted a very respectable 51.53sec which certainly suggests much more to come this indoor season. Both he and Porter will be off to the nationals in February.
Photo courtesy of Lesley Chalmers