Despite the chilly conditions, day-one of the Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games was packed full of superb performances from the country’s next generation of athletes. On the track, there were several lifetime bests and the men’s hammer saw a new championship best performance from Kieran Scott.
The first event of the day was the men’s triple jump where English Schools’ champ Stefan Amokwandoh was once again the winner. His first two-jumps were red-flagged, before he hit form with his next jump. And in the ladies’ shot, Adele Nicholl added the School Games title to her growing collection and recorded a new Welsh record of 14.33 in the process.
On the track, the ladies 300m hurdles kicked off the action, where Katie Purves of Scotland held off her rivals to take the win before Caleb Downes blazed to 100m victory by the tightest of margins in a blanket finish. His winning time was 10.87 – just 0.05 quicker than Fawaz Onukula in second. The 100m ambulant men was won by Reece Goodwin.
GB international Bobby Clay finished her season in style with a win in the ladies’ 1500m before Scotland’s Ben Robbins won an exciting 400m in a new personal best of 48.28, with 1-hundreth of a second separating the minor medals. The ladies’ 100m hurdles was won by Alicia Barratt, giving her a clean sweep of titles for the season.
The south east continued to set the pace on the track, recording victories by Tom Holder in the men’s 3000m and Shannon Hylton in the 200m, with the latter in particular catching the eye with a dominant display of sprinting. For the north west, Ben Rowlings won the 200m combined ambulant wheelchair race.
In the field, the action was starting to wind up and Rory Dwyer entertained the crowd with a series of great jumps and just missed out on a new championship record, before finishing with a fine 2.04m win, and Emma Hamplett won the javelin.
The men’s 800m provided a competitive race with the in-form Christian Von Eitzen continuing his dominance by pulling away from his rivals with 200m to go. The relays proved a hit with the spectators by finishing things off on the track. Scotland ran out winners on the ladies’ 4 x 300m, holding off a spirited finish by the midlands on the last lap, and the north east won the men’s 4 x100m after early leaders the south east dropped the baton, and an awesome last leg from GB youth star Tom Sommers on the last leg gave them the win.
If tomorrow’s action is half as good as the first day’s, then the crowd is in for another feast of athletics. The weather forecast is for heavy rain and wind, which may play its part in performances. But whatever it brings, there will be plenty to smile about when it comes to the UK’s next generation of athletes.