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British shot putt record and a top award for Williams

SHOT putter Paula Williams has broken the British indoor record for her age group ensuring that she has started the new year in the same form that she finished 2024, reports Sam Swanepoel.

The Stratford AC stalwart and GB athlete was presented with an outstanding achievement award at the club’s awards presentation in November – only the second recipient with the other being three-time Olympian Andrew Pozzi.

At Loughborough she broke the British indoor record in her W50 age category with a personal best throw of 13.56 metres, a throw that would have ranked her second in the world last year and almost three metres further than any other female UK athlete in this category last year.

Williams is now ranked first on the UK all-time list, having thrown 93cms further than anyone else.

Stratford shot putt record holder Paula Williams
Stratford shot putt record holder Paula Williams

[add par] The two-day Midland Counties Indoor Championships for under 15s, 17s, 20s and seniors were held at Loughborough University for the first time since Covid. The competition was restricted to short 60m sprints, jumps and shot with the javelin held outdoors in freezing conditions.

In the u20s, Lucy Lane finished fifth in the long jump with a new personal best (PB) of 5.00m. She then won silver in the 60m hurdles and Freddie Clemons finished third in a season’s best of 8.59s in the same event.

In the u17 60m hurdles both Seb Hillard (9.14s) and Ethan Winning (9.25s) had very good runs with both finishing fourth in their heats which qualified them for the semi-finals. Both ran in the same race which Hillard won in 9.04s for a new PB with Winning second in 9.25s. After the times from the two semi-finals were ranked both were out of the medal places.

With virtually no high jump training possible due to the weather leading up to the championships, u20 Caitlin Boyle and Uu15 Annabel Stacy defied the odds to win a silver and gold respectively.

Nearly all of Stratford’s seven 60m sprinters were making their indoors debuts.

Scarlett Dawson (u15) and Ella Peeke (u17) had quick runs but unfortunately finished just outside the medals. In her u20 heat, Megan Thomas finished third in 8.41s but in a bizarre mix-up she initially wasn’t showing as a qualifier for the semi-final and was halfway down the M1 and on her way home when the fault was rectified.

Sam McKenzie was fast out of his blocks in his u17 heat but was fourth and just missed out on the semi-final with 7.83s.

In the u20s, Ronnie Meadows-Main has only just started training with the club but was keen to get involved so, with limited training, did well to finish third in his heat in a time of 8.06s.

Last Stratford athlete on the track was Arthur Mansbridge and in his u15 heat he was the quickest out of the blocks and maintained good form to finish second in a time of 7.88s to qualify for the final.

This proved a terrific race with Arthur in the mix all the way to the line and in a blanket finish he was edged out of the medals into fifth place in a time of 7.83s.

Meanwhile at an open competition in Sheffield, u15 Alex Wood continued his trek around the country for 200m races to sharpen up for next month’s England Championship. He won his heat with a new PB of 24.23s. He also won his heat in the 60m in 7.68s – another PB.

Catherine Reynolds and Imogen Sheppard continued their preparation for the Universities Championships next month recording season’s best times of 56.98s and 60.01s respectively in their 400m heats.

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