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Williams wins a hat-trick of golds

PAULA Williams was among the medals last weekend at the British Masters Athletic Federation (BMAF) Championships held at the prestigious Lee Valley Indoor Arena in London, reports Sam Swanepoel.

And she capped an impressive weekend by landing a new British record in addition to winning three titles.

Nearly 600 athletes competed at the championships including four from Stratford Athletics Club including Williams in the W50 category.

Paula Williams’ haul of gold medals.
Paula Williams’ haul of gold medals.

She was feeling good going into the meeting having had a good session at Loughborough High Performance Athletic Centre on the previous Friday, followed by a tune-up at the Stratford track.

Her Saturday morning started with 60m hurdles which was a straight final. Not only did her personal best time of 9.59 seconds secure gold, but it also beat the previous British record of 9.62s set in 2008.

Williams followed this with another gold on the Sunday morning in the W50 shot put with a distance of 13.17m – she is currently throwing over 13m at each meet.

The 60m on Sunday afternoon was what Williams was really excited about after spending time working on her start and speed for a year. January and early February had shown improvements, but this was her first championships of 2024.

With a time of 8.32s, she comfortably won the first heat with a huge season’s best and then took gold in the final in a time of 8.24s which is the fastest she has run since 2018.

With three golds from three events, Williams is now gearing up for the European Masters Athletics Indoor Track and Field Championships in Poland in a month’s time.

David Jones had low expectations going into these championships, being in the final year of his M70 age category. However, he was delighted to return with two bronze medals from his 800m and 1500m races.

Although his 800m medal was due to a runner ahead of him being disqualified for breaking too early, he was particularly pleased with his 1500m race where third place was up for grabs. He sat on the shoulder of his most likely challenger for most of the race before accelerating off the final to claim his podium finish.

For multi-eventer Mark Illingworth, it was a case of almost but not quite. In his 200m race, a distance that is a little outside his comfort zone, he ran 31.32s in his heat to finish just 0.15s off a qualifying place for the final.

In his 60m heat his time of 9.05s was a PB but just 0.04s off landing a place in the final. It was still a time that lifted him into the UK’s top 10 for his M65 age category.

Dave Battersby was running in the hugely competitive M45 400m race, his first indoor 400m for almost 12 months. Sadly, his time of 58.84s in the heat failed to earn him a place in the final.

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