STRATFORD AC duo Adam Farrow and Lewis Byng bagged silver medals in the 2018 England Athletics Under-15, 17 and 20 Indoor National Championships.
Meeting the stringent qualifying standards for these championships is testament to the talent in the Stratford AC juniors and this year nine of thr club’s youngsters made the trip to Sheffield, some making their debuts in this level of competition and most moving up into the next age group.
Day one had newly-crowned under-15 Midlands high jump champion Adam Farrow making his debut in the championships and his clean, consistent jumping saw him finishing on 1.70m, which earned him a superb silver.
Evie Lowe was also making her debut at the national level and after some early nerves she moved through the rounds, building her confidence to finish on a just below par 1.45m but a highly commendable sixth place.
Beth Cate found the going tough in her first major event as an under-17 in the 60m (8.45), finishing eighth in her heat and sixth in the 200m (27.81).
Day two kicked off with Byng stepping into the shot circuit and with his typical positive approach he moved through the rounds with consistent mid-15m throwing.
His throw of 15.65m had him in the lead until a dramatic last throw of the competition from Lewis’ main rival Andrew Knight from Morpeth Harriers & AC saw him push out a throw just 9cm more to snatch the gold.
With the silver medal around his neck, a slightly disappointed Byng said: “This has made me even more determined to do even better in the outdoor championships.”
Millie Leighton was another making her debut at the national championships in the under-15 hurdles, and despite running a PB of 9.62 in the heats to finish third, she was disappointed until she heard she had qualified for the semi-final.
The girls are incredibly quick at this level and Leighton ran another positive race to finish fifth, but outside the qualifiers for the final.
Jasmine Williams had her work cut out in the heats of the under-17 hurdles and after moving up to this age group, the older girls in particular dominate the races but despite a determined run in 9.48s it meant she missed out on the semi-finals by a tenth of a second.
The biggest smile of the day came when Emily Madden Forman finally beat her previous PB in the under-20 high jump by leaping 1.69m narrowly missing the next height of 1.74m.
She really rattled the bar at 1.69, but it stayed on for her to finish on the same height as four other girls and countback ensured she was pushed back to seventh place; but it didn’t stop her smiling.
Jack Sumners warmed up for his main hurdles event by taking part in what was a relatively lacklustre competition. Despite that, Sumners got three good jumps in to finish tenth with a best leap of 6.59.
The hurdles is arguably the toughest track events to master, needing speed, precision, guts and a high level of technical ability to be able to perform at the top level.
As two of the top ranked U20 hurdlers in the country, Sumners and Ollie Cresswell lined up against the who’s who of under-20 hurdlers both qualifying from same heat to reach the final.
It is very rare to see two athletes from the same club in a national final, but with all but one of the top under-20 hurdlers in the UK lining up side-by-side, the final was unbelievably quick and in a tidal wave of athletes swamping the finish line Sumners finished in fifth place just ahead of Cresswell in sixth.