World qualifying standard and meeting record for Charlie Myers in Geneve

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Myers vaulting to British indoor gold in February. Photo: Melissa Gresswell.

It’s hard to believe that in the space of just a few hours, the weather at Atletica Geneve 2019 went from this…

to this…

Despite some fabulous performances earlier on in the day, the meeting was forced to stop due to treacherous conditions, including waterlogged lanes and falling trees.

The conditions make Charlie Myers 5.71m world qualifying vault and meeting record sound even more outstanding than it already is. The Middlesborough athlete improved his lifetime best from 5.60m yesterday, achieving that all important standard for Doha later on in the season.

Conditions were ideal for the one lap athletes earlier on in the day and looking back, they’ll be thankful they weren’t swimming round the track later on in the programme! The British athletes looked to dominate the 400m and 400m hurdles and there was a host of UK talent crossing the line in pole position. As our commentator exclaimed in heat 2 of the men’s 400m hurdles “But it’s Christ McAlister! Where did he come from?!”, and re-watching the race you’ll most definitely understand his astonishment. The Thames Valley athlete left his final surge until clearing the last hurdle, hunting down Guernsey’s Alastair Chalmer’s and GB U23 Alex Knibbs. Ploughing through the line from lane 8, McAlister was rewarded with a big personal best and his first sub-50 second clocking, in 49.95 seconds.

Despite being pipped on the line, Chalmers still had a fantastic day, setting a new British junior record with his 50.07 second performance. The British campaign continued throughout the 400m hurdles heats, with UK lead Seb Roger running a season’s best of 49.58 in heat 1 leaving Tyri Donovan and Lennox Thompson to reach the tape first in their following heats. The final would’ve been an excellent indicator of a British Championships final if it hadn’t been for the apocalyptic conditions that would soon bring the meeting to a standstill.

There was another large British contingent in the women’s 400m heats, but it was France’s Deborah Sananes who was the only athlete to clock sub-52 seconds, winning the first heat in 51.55, followed by Amy Allcock (52.21) and Emily Diamond (52.27). British indoor silver medallist and GB junior Amber Anning had an outstanding race in heat 2, clocking sub-53 for the first time in a time of 52.64, taking the second spot behind Ireland’s Davicia Patterson in 52.57 seconds.

In the men’s one lap, Italian athlete Davide Re broke the Italian 400m record with 45.01. He finished incredibly strongly to become Italy’s fastest ever 1 lap specialist. Cameron Chalmers didn’t let his brother have all the fun, as he won heat 2 of the 400m in 46.04 seconds. 8-time Paralympic champion and world’s smiliest athlete, Blake Leeper of the USA took heat 3 in 45.81, with big hopes to compete at next year’s Tokyo Olympics with able-bodied athletes. In his post race interview he tells us ” I think I want to make history and potentially run 43 seconds, I’ve just got to knock that 44.4 down and run faster and faster, and just train and stay consistent and hopefully you’ll see me in the Olympic Games next year!”

Kristal Awuah was no slouch in the first heat of the 100m, as she took the third spot in 11.29 seconds, behind fast finishing Ajla Del Ponte of Switzerland in 11.20. Only one heat of the men’s 100m was able to take place at around 4.25pm, and action was soon called off at 4.45pm. Taymir Burnet of the Netherlands and British athlete Andy Robertson crossed the line side by side in a time of 10.28, closely followed by Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Churandy Martina both in 10.31 seconds.

In the 800m, Birchfield Harriers athlete Mari Smith went straight to the front of the field in heat 1, increasing the gap between herself and the rest of the field, finally clocking 2:03.02, her second fastest time ever.

Although not great conditions at all for the field events later on in the programme, Amy Holder of Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow took advantage of the calmer conditions in the first field event of the day, the discus. She threw a big lifetime best of 56.42m, throwing over 56m for the first time.

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