Category: Weekend action

The crowds poured in by the thousands round the Quayside to attend the sign-off episode of a sensational summer and relish a last encore of some of their Olympic heroes at the Great City Games in Newcastle, serving as the fall equinox of home athletics as the outdoor track season takes to the streets thereon to hand over the baton to the road in the shape of the Great North Run the following day.

A street version of the once traditional GBR vs USA matches, the Americans may have settled the affair as early as midway through to finally prevail 6-3 in wins between them but the British fans were delighted to witness some surprisingly strong late performances from athletes such as Chris Tomlinson and Dwain Chambers that lend even more promise to the following season.

Dan Pfaff-bound Holly Bleasdale suffered a low flight of just 4.10m, admittedly having not done any training since London, as she slipped to a surprise defeat by Mary Saxy (4.25) in a short-run opening women’s pole vault, U20 hot prospect Katie Byres rounding out the field at 3.80, while Hannah England looked to have measured her efforts superbly only to be denied by a marauding late charge from burgeoning half-miler Brenda Martinez at the death in the mile to turn the tide decisively in favour of the US team from the early days.

World champion Jenny Simpson opted to embark on an unfamiliar hard run straight to the front to open up a healthy gap on the field that she held well into the second half of the race until an audacious move by Julia Bleasdale, always relishing to test her limits, saw her haul in the American off the Swing Bridge where England worked her way back on terms more steadily soon.

As the finish line loomed ahead turning into the home stretch, England was well poised to strike out past a tiring Simpson for home, maybe a click too early, and looked like having done enough to clinch top honours for Britain, Bleasdale falling behind and Anna Pierce with Shannon Rowbury out of contention; yet, out of nowhere screamed past lightning Martinez like a train down the way, in a late established trademark fashion, to steal a victory against the odds over the last 40m in 4:34.99 to 4:35.56.

The 25-year-old half-miler was the least fancied among the American quartet to figure at the top, venturing on the upper end of her range, but she is already a useful miler (4:06.96 PB over 1500m) and offered a full measure of her fiercesome kick to suggest a major new force in the making over both distances in view of next season.

Nonetheless, there were many positives for the Brit to draw out of the tussle before swinging out to the terminal stop of a season that never came her way, her luck not lasting even as far as the finish line of an early Pyrrhic victory in Hengelo, lining up at the renowned 5th Avenue Mile in New York.

Behind the two, Pierce battled into the top three in 4:36.44 ahead of Simpson, who had to eventually do with fourth in 4:37.17 for all her pains, whereas Bleasdale faded back into fifth in 4:38.89. U20 sensation Jessica Judd gained further valuable excerience in a fastest ever mile on any surface in 4:42.30 followed by Eilish McColgan in 4:42.84 in the rear two places.

Following next, the men’s equivalent was nothing short of a nailbiting thriller either as a rejuvenated James Brewer turned back the pages of his form book to reignite his U23 promise and give great Bernard Lagat, the red-hot favourite, a real scare and a race for his money.

The legendary former double world champion attempted to lay down his law from the outset by means of a brisk pace at the helm but, much to a growing astonishment around, could not shake off the stout challenge of the Brit who moved alongside into the final quarter of the race, growing in confidence with every stride.

So much so that Brewer appeared to turn the screw and Lagat digging deep to hang on into the final burn-up but the American made his expertise count as he ground out a vital metre entering the home track straight and used his body expertly to shut the ways past as his young rival rallied to threaten again late for a narrow victory in 4:01.62 against 4:01.81, a road best for the latter.

Mark Rowland-coached Jordan McNamara was a clear third some way behind in 4:02.86 and U23 Jonny Hay worked his way through in the late stages for fourth in 4:05.03 ahead of 800m man Mukhtar Mohammed.

The spectacle of Brewer back in full flow was a delight to watch and will afford a further boost alongside Ross Murray’s summer revelation to the British mile scene in quest of a return into the thick of affairs at global level as Andy Baddeley could be pondering a move up in distance, with the likes of James Shane hopefully returning fully fit next season.

By stark contrast, Olympic short relay champion Jeneba Tarmoh bossed the women’s 100m from her first step out of the blocks minutes earlier and never allowed a slightest shade of doubt cast on the outcome as she made a slick transition into a firm lead and drove powerfully down the track to win comfortably in a fast late-season 11.17 secs (0.6m/sec), placing a thorough gap on compatriot Miki Barber and Anyika Onuora who battled it out for the runner-up spot behind in 11.37 and 11.42 secs.

Chris Tomlinson lands at a superb third-round 8.18m to nail a top-notch long jump on the Quayside

Mo Farah comfortably dominates the men’s 2 miles

Full Results


Jade Nicholls made a substantial step closer to earning Olympic selection as she nailed a B qualifier of 60.51m at a warm up throws meet at La Jolla, part of the OTC Pre Olympic series, which proved the foot of her own trail to her London dream.

Under the selection policy, a couple of current B standards are required to qualify in Trial events, provided there is no A holder therein, and getting the first out of the way so early into the season is a considerable burden off her shoulders and as significant a boost.

The 25-year-old got out to a slow start, however, and had to wait until the third round to find her rhythm by way of an outdoor SB of 58.92m, just 5cm shy of a potential indoor world best of 58.97m at Vaxjo (SWE), before she moved up a further chunk into qualifying territory and a useful international win at her fourth attempt.

A 58.21m fifth round served to bolster up her series as she got the better of American record holder and three-time Olympian Suzie Powell, second at a fourth-effort 59.85 on the day, into the bargain.

The event was held on the eve of the discus competition at the MtSAC Relays in Walnut, and the Brit throwers on the UKA camp in California showed up in full to go through their paces before the main assignment of the week.

In the men’s version, European U23 champion Lawrence Okoye and Daegu finalist Brett Morse placed sixth and seventh at 62.27 and 61.06m respectively for further early solid displays in a quality competition that saw three men over 66m.

Okoye recorded two more throws over the 60m line with a follow-up of 61.77m in the fifth round and an opening 60.23m while Morse started off out to 60.39m. Interestingly, that result saw the former going already 2-0 up in between them contests in the incorporated match of the battle for the British summit.

Croatian Martin Maric opened up with a world-leading 66.53m and held on to earn his spurs under the attack of Rutger Smith, who reached a second-farthest-in-the-globe 66.33 (SB) a round later, with fellow Dutchman Erik Cadee closing out the top three at a SB of 66.10m.

In the development edition, U23 Zane Duquemin continued his promising early form to mark a second-farthest ever 59.71m for fifth but Chris Scott struggled with a finger problem to end up last at 56.30m, Brasilian Ronald Juliao prevailing with a SB of 62.97m.

Away from the discus throwing sector, a revamped Brad Walker scaled an opener of 5.72m in the pole vault to bounce vigorously onto the outdoor stage following his silver medal at the World Indoors in Istanbul last month.

Tiffany Porter and Richard Kilty came out of pre-season training to highlight the action at the first weekend of April from a British perspective as they became the first athletes to obtain so-called ‘current’ A Olympic standards in the sprint hurdles and the 200m respectively, such markers counting as of the turn of the month.

Lennie Waite set a world-leading time in the women’s ‘chase and Margaret Adeoye insisted on startling people with her rate of progress among other notable performances as the bulk of action is currently being staged across the Pond. So let’s have a look around and pick up what happened.

Florida Relays, Gainsville

Tiffany Porter was swift out of her marks to breeze over the sticks to a UK-leading 12.96 secs into a slight headwind (-0.5m/sec), tying the Olympic A standard in the process, and state her case as a medal contender in London from the outset of her outdoor season.

That was effectively the best ever opener for the British captain and silver medallist in Istanbul since her 12.71 secs last year in Austin was aided by a 4.9m/sec gale, suggesting that even faster times could be on the way this summer.

Selectionwise, there has never been an issue but more of a formality to be named on the Team GB sheet as such is her authority on the domestic scene, yet it is always a nice feeling and a boost to stamp it from early on.

Bridgette Owens came second and Loreal Smith was third in 13.26 and 13.36 secs respectively behind the Briton.

Porter extended her presence at the meet leading off the Star Athletics B on the way to a third place in the women’s 4x100m, anchored by top American hurdler Kristi Castlin, in 43.88 where fellow Briton Abi Oyepitan was also out on the same leg to blow off some cobwebs and set up Pure Athletics A, containing Shalonda Solomon and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, to win the relay in 43.33 secs.

Istanbul dash bronze medallist Tianna Madison anchored the Boogiefast Track Club A in between in 43.75 secs while Kellie Wells and Demu Cherry were drafted in fourth-placing Star Athletics A.

Andy Turner delivered further good news for Team GB as he was quick to shrug off injury concerns by contributing the third leg to ‘Train Gang A’, led off by late-making up-his mind David Oliver, into third overall out of two heats in 55.75 secs over a rare 4x11om hurdles relay – Star Athletics A the victors in 54.30.

The European champion was feared to have suffered a recurrence of his achilles complaint earlier in the week but all Turn-er-ed out well in the end.

Oliver, for his part, made a hash of his individual race on the first day as he was caught on the wrong foot by the flying start and hurdling of Ronnie Ash to hit the last obstacle hard with his trail leg and stray deep into the adjacent lane of David Payne on the right.

The American record holder recovered his own stripe of the turf as best as he could to wind up fourth in a windy 13.43 (3.0m/sec) and went on to apologize to the Olympic silver medallist (13.47) for hindering his race, while he also opted to leave a decision late over the hurdle relay due to a slight injury sustained.

Ash held his form nicely to the tape to win in 13.10 from runner-up Dexter Faulk (13.25), who startled the world with his 7.40 secs heat over 60m hurdles at the US Indoor Trials, and third-spotted Lehann Fourie (13.31).

Briton Alex Al-Ameen edged the fourth heat in a SB of 14.03 into a slight headwind of -0.4m/sec for a useful start to his own term.

Star of the meeting turned Bershawn ‘Batman’ Jackson as he swept round the track to a huge world-leading time of 48.49 secs in the 400m hurdles and announced that he is back in serious business after crashing out of the medals in Daegu, showing evident glimpses of the form that earned him a sensational world title in Helsinki back in 2005.

Jonny Dutch was no slouch either as he followed through in second place some way behind in a swift season opener of 48.96 secs to move likewise up in the world rankings overnight before Jeshua Anderson edged him out of the runner-up spot in winning in 48.86 secs the following day in Tempe, Arizona.

European bronze medallist Martyn Bernard made a tentative inaugural outing, first since Daegu, over 2.15m for fifth in a high jump competition that saw the rise of a potential new star in 21-year-old Ricky Robertson, who soared over successive lifetime bests of 2.30 and 2.32m at the first time of asking to soar to the top of the global outdoor rankings.

The American held a previous best of 2.29m from Athens, Georgia, last May and will fancy his chances of joining the likes of world champion Jesse Williams in London.

Another athlete to raise her own stakes substantially on the international rostrum out was Octavious Freeman, turning her 20 on April 20, as she walked away with a brace of world leads in her bag out of a fabulous double in the women’s sprints within a short space, doubling as PBs as well.

The Florida-based rangy sprinter comfortably notched up the 100m in 11.10 secs (1.2m/sec) from Tiffany Townsend, second in 11.22 secs (SB), and returned later on the first day to edge out Shalonda Goodman over the furlong in 22.80 to 22.85 secs (0.5m/sec), also a PB for the latter.

Castlin was also involved in the flat sprints to come away with a double of PBs in 11.60 and 23.46 secs in the 100 and 200m respectively to make the most out of Gains-ville.

In the men’s sprints, Jeff Demps edged the men’s 100m from Trinidadian Keston Bledman in 10.11 against 10.14 secs (1.1m/sec), moving second and fourth in the global lists, while Maurice Mitchell blasted to a wind-assisted 20.08 secs over 200m (3.4m/sec) well in front of Isiah Young (20.35).

Brit Julian Thomas returned arguably his best run in years to finish third in the fourth heat in a marginally windy 21.11 secs (2.1m/sec) and could draw hope to see again the regions of his PB, a 20.85 secs in 2005, and why not even further yet.

Scot Jade Nimmo struggled in the women’s long jump, won by Shameka Marshall at a SB of 6.52m (-0.7m/sec), as she could not place a mark farther than 6.08m (-1.0m/sec) on the day, with two fouls and passing her final two efforts.


Sun Angel Classic, Tempe

Richard Kilty carried his indoor thunder into his mini outdoor premiere in sundrenched Arizona to demonstrate that he is arriving into the thick of affairs, at least as far as the European picture is concerned, as he dismissed his PBs over both sprint distances sight unseen from the off with aplomb.

Having eased to a startling 6.61 over 60m on the boards of Birmingham in winter, he employed this new-found momentum to run over a begging 10.32 from Crawley last August and draw a huge new mark of 10.23 secs (0.3m/sec) up on the scoreboard on the other end of the straight, inside the Olympic B benchmark and straight to the top of the British lists.

That proved more than enough to dominate a first heat involving world indoor triple jump champion Will Claye back in sixth (10.64) while coach Linford Christie, nursing a broken bone out of a benchpress workout, was further content to see European silver medallist Mark Lewis-Francis off to a solid opener of 10.33 secs (0.0) minutes later for a close runner-up behind U23 American Ryan Milus (10.29).

On a surge, Kilty was soon back on the track later to even more striking effect as he powered round the 200m to a second lifetime best of an Olympic A marker of 20.50 secs on the day in totally still conditions (0.0) to afford fascinating glimpses into what he could perform come summer.

Indeed, had the wind been on, say, 1.5m/sec that run could have likely ranged in the high 20.3s to suggest that the time may have come to witness a Brit in the low 20 secs since Christian Malcolm‘s exploits early last decade, and why not even inside that barrier for that matter.

That made a second win in the bag for the 22-year-old who finished comfortably ahead of American Jeremy Dodson (20.68), already a 20.38 secs (1.8m/sec) performer this season, for a further measure of the quality of his form.

Luke Lennon-Ford was also out on a double sprint workout to put together SBs of 10.93 and 21.38 (0.0) over 100 and 200m respectively, a member of the silver medal winning quartet in the long relay in Istanbul.

On the women’s side, new-look Laura Turner, much improved in alignment and dynamics, followed Kilty’s trail to fashion a dash double of her own in a UK-topping 11.47 and 23.71 (SB), both in breathless conditions (0.0), in an encouraging start.

The one to steal the impressions, nevertheless, was ever-surging Margaret Adeoye who looked so at home over a rare 400m to tour round the lap well on top in a huge PB of 53.43 secs and even claim that she hardly felt any lactic in her legs after the race.

After all, her inexaustible strength is her main asset to render her a real deal for the longer distance in future even though she looks well on the way inside 23 secs over her specialty (200m) on the evidence of her displays so far.

European indoor finalist Richard Strachan also joined in the chorus of promising displays in that first ‘Team Christie’ run-through as he battled for runner-up in a solid 46.22 secs in the men’s equivalent behind Donald Sanford, who set a new Israeli national record of 45.76 secs.

The performance of the meet arguably goes to American Jeshua Anderson who powered round over the hurdles to a global runner-up of 48.88 secs and get in between countrymen Bershawn Jackson and Jonny Dutch in the seasons early charts, with Thomas Phillips a distant sixth in 51.58 secs.

Canadian Malindi Elmore, a 4:02.64 performer way back in 2004, rekindled some of her old form as she convincingly saw off Jamaican 800m star Kenia Sinclair in 4:16.38 to 4:17.54 while her compatriot Nathan Brannen won the men’s equivalent in a brisk 3:39.85, with Brit Darren StClair still struggling down in seventh place in a SB in 1:49.60 well behind winner Andrew Ellerton (CAN, 1:48.03) in the 800m.

The bulk of the main action continued to come, rather unchacteristically, from beyond the European borders in the women’s hammer in these opening phases as Jessica Cosby narrowly missed out on Erin Gilreath‘s US record by only 16cm with a PB of 73.71m, third best in the world, and Heather Stacey virtually ensured Canada of a double representation in the event in London with a PB of her own at 72.16m, comfortably over the Olympic A standard.


Stanford Invitational, Stanford

Lennie Waite sparked her Olympic bid into life as she drew desperately shy of the B standard by a mere 0.35 secs running away with top honours in the main section over the women’s barriers, building up a winning margin of over 12 seconds.

The US-based ‘chaser clocked a new PB of 9:48.35 to brush aside her previous figure of 9:49.67 from Nivone, Belgium, last August and find herself sitting nicely atop the early global lists for a considerable confidence boost.

That said, she has definitely got to beat the A standard (9:40.00) in a potential race with Eilish McColgan for the effective remaining third spot in the event on the British team given that Barbara Parker and Hattie Archer (nee Dean) already hold a sound foothold in that region from last summer.

In the women’s 10000m, Sarah Waldron forayed deep into unknown territories to come away with a massive PB of 32:36.07 in fourth place and storm the top of the UK lists, slashing a big chunk of roughly 1:15  off her previous best from last year.

Despite the size of her improvement, her time could not quite be regarded as a surprise since the groundwork had been laid during the indoor season through runs of 15:59.93 and 16:07.04 on the American circuit.

Tom Farrell got his outdoor campaign off to swift start as he battled hard round the last 300m to a straight PB of 3:41.07 in a tight finish for the minor top three places over the men’s 1500m, polishing up his speed nicely in view of his attempt at the Olympic A marker over 5000m at Stanford at the end of April.

Jamal Aarrass (FRA), looking particularly strong in these early days, came away a convincing victor of that second of two main heats in 3:39.04 (SB), Chris Derrick edging an even more packed first section in a slower 3:41.17.

Promising U23 miler Rich Peters enjoyed a direct ride inside 14 mins in his induction into the 5000m as he set 13:56.89 to finish fourth in the second heat, Jim Walmsley on top in 13:52.87, and build in further endurance insulation but fellow Brit Ross Clarke failed to complete the distance.

Over double the distance, late bloomer Matthew Bond eradicated his lifetime best into a new mark of 29:08.69 to take the second section of the men’s 10000m with Dathan Ritzenhein prevailing in a season-warm-up 28:21.48 in the main race.

The highlight of the meet came in the shape of rising prospect Bridgetta Barrett who climbed over an equal global-leading 1.95m (SB) in the women’s high jump, having set a total best of 1.97m indoors in Fayetteville this winter.



James Alaka set out for the new season with a brace of runner-ups both times behind 19-year-old Prezel Hardy Jr in his best ever openers of 10.36 (1.0m/sec) and 20.90 secs (0.8m/sec) over 100 and 200m at the Pepsi Team Invitational in Eugene, Oregon.

The European U23 100m champion was fairly satisfied albeit he might have liked a little more out of his showing as his American rival pulled together runs of 10.32 and 20.60 secs over the respective distances for a sprint double up front.

At the Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister Classic in Los Angeles, Leevan Yearwood and U23 Tremayne Gilling opened up slightly faster yet as they registered 10.32 and 10.35 secs (0.7m/sec) for a British one-two in the 100m, comfortably sharpest starters ever to a season for both.

But also out on the track competing was veteran now Donna Fraser to set 12.22 secs in the women’s 100m as she still refuses to ‘lay down her arms’ just a few months prior to her 40th birthday, a prime example of dedication and love for the sport.

Mind you, Fraser still firmly occupies fifth position in the UK all-time lists over 400m in 49.79 secs set when slightly missing out on Katharine Merry and bronze in the Olympics in Sydney 2000, a European U20 champion way back in 1991 as well.

Finally, Tyrone Edgar continued his steady comeback to racing and form as he shaved a hundredth off his SB to 10.29 secs on a sweet tailwind of 1.6m/sec to cruise to victory in the 100m at the North Texas Invitational in Denton.

As Wallace Spearmon sheathed his guns after a searing 19.95 secs over 200m the previous weekend, Sanya Richards-Ross took up the mantle and stepped up to the start of the 100m to show her own quality and firepower very much in the pattern of the script of the “Quick and the dead” – and proved as lethal and quick on the draw.

After all, this was Texas and you can’t afford to turn anything less than that when called on to perform on split second timing.

Blast out of her blocks she did and blazed down the straight and away in a manner reminiscent of a dash speciallist, a spectacular tireless footwork all along, to cross the line in a devastating 10.89 secs a street ahead of a decent field, signalling her menacing intentions ahead of the summer.

For slightly windy (2.9m/sec) it may have been, yet that constituted the fastest run ever turned in by a female sprinter in history at the early stage of March to strike fear into the hearts of her rivals over what she could be capable of come the peak of the summer season.

Even more so when she won a thorough world indoor title over her specialty (400m) in 50.79 secs a mere three weeks earlier to show deep resources of speed available at any given time and occasion, a powerful weapon in her immense armoury.

Come to that, she looks as though she is perfecting her racing model by mastering a distance that will enable her to lay a yet sounder 200m platform going into the summer, which combined with her strength could render her an invincible challenger even for someone as gifted as Allyson Felix.

So has the time come for her to fulfil her undisputed potential and claim that elusive Olympic crown? Her major championships record nowhere near matches her prestigious feats and glittering times on the circuit so far; at the same time, the manner she dispensed with the rounds of the 400m in Istanbul and her lightning run in Austin suggest that her best may be still lying ahead of her.

In all fairness, Athens may have come a little too early for her back in 2004 while Beijing didn’t entertain the very top of her form four years later. Therefore time will tell over the next few months whether she has reached Redemption and dismisses the ghosts of the past.

Incidentally, Richard-Ross’s PB over the dash stands at 10.97 secs (-0.7m/sec) from 2007 in Shangai and ought to be due for substantial revision by the look of her early form.

Porscha Lucas came well behind in second despite a 11.11 secs clocking, a hundredth faster than her lifetime best, and Chastity Riggien was third in 11.23 secs.

Astonishingly enough at this phase, Sanya’s sizzling 10.89 secs dash merely sufficed to steal a March on young compatriot Kimberlyn Duncan who minutes earlier had stormed to an as astounding 10.94 secs on an identical tailwind of 3.0m/sec to command a University/College final of even greater depth in style, holding off Chelsea Hayes and Dominigue Duncan who set 11.09 and 11.15 secs respectively.

That was a robust early statement by the 20-year-old, holding PBs of 11.09 and 22.24 secs from last season, to underline her credentials as a potential contender for a berth on the US team in what should be a sensational affair at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene. Hayes, nonetheless, was the fastest out of the heats in a SB and global-leading 11.20 (1.5m/sec) the previous day with Duncan at 11.26 (1.3m/sec) and her namesake Dominique in 11.30 secs (2.0m/sec).

Sanya’s part in the meeting was not over yet and after a short breather she tripped over to the peak of the home straight to pick up the baton from Shelise Williams and  anchor the Hart Of Texas to a convincing win in a swift 3:27.03 in the Invitational 4x400m women’s relay, wrapping up an superb day’s work in style.

Runner-ups were the TG Elite, led off by Istanbul’s bronze medallist Natasha Hastings, in 3:29.23 and star-studded Sprinting Speed, featuring Jessica Beard, Francena McCorory and Alexandria Anderson, were third in 3:29.86.

Jeremy Wariner anchors in a solid 44.58 secs in the main 4x400m race

In the men’s equivalent, Jeremy Wariner lined up further evidence that he is firmly back on track as he turned on a solid 44.58 secs anchor leg to clinch victory for the Central TX All Stars in a time of 3:01.54, with Tabarie Henry deployed in the second leg.

The 2004 Olympic champion came under an ambitious attack up the back straight by Jeremy Davis and Leroy Dixon, tying up Next Level Athletics and HP All Stars, but held his ground well on the inside and when he engaged higher gear coming off the top bend he pulled away nonchalantly to carve out a near 10m gap on his rivals.

Meanwhile, Spearmon, for his part, along with groupmate and friend Darvis Patton have opted to return back to some serious pre-season training after their March exploits but did come out to stretch their legs over the first half of the men’s Invitational 4x100m that also involved a revamped Tyrone Edgar round the top bend, romping to a comfortable win in 38.64 secs.

They might have been a little astounded, all the same, to be bettered in terms of time by a less glamorous side of Auburn comprising Marcus Rowland, Harry Adams, Michael de Haven and Keenan Brock who combined fabulously round the track to a world-leading 38.30 secs earlier on in the university race, beating Texas A&M into second place in 38.84 secs.

In the short dash, Canadian Aaron Brown nicked the top of the podium on a photofinish verdict from Cordero Gray as they shared a windy 10.09 secs (2.9m/sec) in the invitational contest but it was sprinter-cum-footballer Jeff Demps who delivered the fastest time of the day as he dominated the university finals in an also windy 10.01 secs (2.9m/sec).

Chris Thomas edged the 110m hurdles over Trinidadian namesake Mikel by a shade as they both set PBs of 13.45 and 13.48 secs in maybe the only race to be held in legal conditions (1.9m/sec), Barrett Nugent prevailing in a wind-assisted 13.37 (2.9m/sec) in the university version, where Nicole Denby caught the attention through a windy 12.78 secs to earn top honours in the women’s hurdles.

The women’s high jump enjoys a revival in exciting times in the States following Chaunte Howard-Lowe‘s major upset over Anna Chicherova (RUS) in Istanbul, Brigitta Barrett emerging as a new star from the ranks, and veteran Amy Acuff pulled her weight in saliently over a straight world-topping 1.95m on her very return to action after three years.

Turning her 37 on April 14, the American will be looking to make a fourth Olympia on the trot having narrowly missed out on bronze in Athens in 2004, fourth at 1.99m, and getting the Olympic A standard out of the way was a best possible start.

Let’s make our usual round to pick up some interesting results from British athletes both on the early domestic scene and overseas, mainly from across the Pond, as we are turning into the top bend of the qualification race to the Olympics in London, which equates to the spring pre-season stage.


Andy Vernon and Julia Bleasdale put in solid displays to finish in creditable spots in the top ten of the men and women’s 5K races at the noted annual road event held in Carlsbad, California, on Sunday showing that they are building up nicely towards the summer.

World Student Games champion Vernon came home ninth in a best of 13:40 on the road, first time inside 14 mins, losing out on a higher placing to 3:31 Aussie miler Ryan Gregson and US-based Kenyan Haron Lagat, both credited with 13:39, in the closing stages and will take plenty of heart from his outing in windy conditions in his pursuing of a necessary Olympic A standard, either in the 5000 or the 10000m on the track.

Erratic young Ethiopian Dejen Gebremeskel turned his fiercesome kick to awesome account this once as he streaked away to a commanding victory late in the contest in 13:11, fourth fastest all-time, after seasoned campaigner and former global 5000m champion Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) did all the ‘dirty work’ running hard from the front into the wind in an identical pattern to last year’s edition.

So much so that they clocked almost identical times save the Kenyan was eventually pipped into third by rising Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet, just 17, as both were awarded with an identical 13:14, the latter emerging as a top prospect for the forthcoming World U20 Championships in Barcelona.

Tariku Bekele, the brother of great Kenenisa, followed in fourth in 13:16 to add further gloss and depth to the race while Irishman Alistair Cragg set a national best of 13:26 back in sixth place.

Having already run close to her PB in 15:45.90 in Adelaide, Australia, Bleasdale climbed up a notch to come a splendid sixth in 15:47 and might entertain some hope that she could sail near the A standard of 15:20 when the season picks up.

Double Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) ran away with affairs in 15:01 as she placed a solid dozen seconds on compatriot runner-up Werknesh Kidane (15:13), with Kenyan Pauline Korikwiang spoiling an Ethiopian full podium in third in 15:22.


At the Texas Relays in Austin, Chris Gowell savoured maybe the best moment of his career so far as he rose a comfortable winner of the Jerry Thompson Mile in a big PB of 4:01.08 to erase his previous best of 4:03.93, set in Cwmbran (Wales) in August 2010.

The 26-year-old crossed the line nearly two seconds ahead of second-placed Kenyan Jackson Kivuva where Kevin Ondrasek was a close third in 4:03.04.

Gowell also competed over 800m two days earlier to take fifth in a season starter of 1:49.79 amidst a close order for the minor spots as American miler Leo Manzano struck out down the home straight a convincing victor in a new meeting record of 1:47.65, implying a likely shift of weight on the longer distance for the Brit.

‘chaser Lennie Waite got the same place along the finishing line of the women’s metric mile in a SB of 4:19.44 in a follow-up to an early world-leading 9:55.91 in Houston, the capital of Texas, a week earlier. That is her fastest ever opener over the barriers for good measure.

Having got off to a solid 10.30 in Arlington the previous weekend, Tyrone Edgar combined with Wallace Spearmon and Darvis Patton, deployed in the opening two legs, over the unfamiliar top bend to help ‘Speed United’ win the Invitational 4x100m relay with ease in 38.64 although, surprisingly, the fastest run of the day arrived in the guise of Auburn in a swift 38.30 in the Clyde Littlefield race earlier in the program.

After hard times on the sidelines for a couple of years, the former European Cup winner will be content to be putting together solid back-on-back races and feel competitive again at this stage.

Former European U20 silver medallist Amy Harris was eighth in the long jump on a windy 6.40m (4.0m/sec), with a legal 6.23m too (2.0m/sec), but promising U23 jumper Lorraine Ugen apparently suffered a setback as she just touched at 4.43m in her opening effort and called it a day after passing the second.

Hopefully, there is nothing serious with her and she could build on a slightly windy 6.83m recently that has effectively drawn her into striking distance of the A qualifying standard in the long jump for London (6.75m).

Chelsea Hayes was the winner at 6.86m aided by a strong tailwind of 5.0m/sec and Tori Bowie followed with an also very windy 6.77m (4.6m/sec).

UK long jump champion Julian Reid is also a decent hand in the triple jump, a potential B plan for Olympic selection if the A doesn’t come off, and came out with a slightly windy but encouraging 16.76m (2.6m/sec), with a legal 16.24m (1.8m/sec) put down as well, for a considerable improvement on his indoor 16.35m this season.

Early in the four-day meeting, Joe Wade ran a UK-topping 8:58.29 for fourth immediately followed a slot behind by his twin brother Tom in 9:01.40 (SB) in the men’s 3000m steeplechase with Luis Orta a comfortable winner in 8:50.72 up front.


Matt Graham drew in between the Wade brothers to number two in the early UK lists as he continued his gradual return to form in a SB of 9:00.93 to win over the barriers at the Oliver Nikoloff Invitational in Cincinatti, Ohio, a couple of days later.

The U23 Scot caught the eye when he dropped down to a sound 8:51.48 as an U20 two seasons ago but languished on the verge of 9 minutes for the entire last summer, yet it looks a matter of time before he dips back inside that benchmark again. Incidentally, he has won both his outings in his specialty this term.

James Mee moved fourth in the British charts courtesy of a massive PB of 9:03.88 for fourth at the Raleigh Relays in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Tina Muir kept on improving by heaps through a second huge PB on the trot in 16:10.55 in third over the women’s 5000m.

Lee Carey returned a big PB of his own in 14:08.68, also third, in the men’s version and Hannah Brooks won over the same distance in a SB of 16:20.05 at the UNF Invitational in Jacksonville, Florida.


The seventh stage was ‘all the money’ at the Northern Road Relays in Liverpool as in-form Jonny Mellor (Liverpool), fresh from a fabulous debut of 62:59 over the half marathon in New York, and Nick McCormick (Morpeth) produced the two fastest long-leg times in 21:43 and 21:47 respectively with James Wilkinson (Leeds) also involved in 22:04.

Niall Brooks (Sale) was the fastest over the short leg of the course in 11:07 to indicate that he is getting back on track after a shortened stuttering drive last summer.

Liverpool were runaway winners ahead of Salford and Morpeth.

Elle Baker (Stockport) and Charlene Thomas (Wakefield) handed in the two swiftest legs with a single second separating their runs in 12:25 and 12:26, second and sixth stage respectively, as Rotherham prevailed in women, followed by Wakefield and Salford.



Annabel Gummow, the European U20 bronze medallist over 5000m, turned a cut or two above anyone else as she delivered the fastest leg by a long way in 15:50 at the Midland Road Relays in Birmingham. However, her team, Bristol & West AC, could not get anywhere near the top two outfits of Westbury and Birchfield Harriers for the top honours.

Bristol did win, though, the men’s race ahead of Tipton and Birchfield Harriers.



Teenage prodigy Delano Williams blew away the field  over the 200m final to wrap up a sensational sprint double at the ISSA/Grace Kennedy Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, then went on to reveal that he has obtained a British passport that enables him to represent Britain henceforth.

The 18-year-old hails from the British dependent islands of Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean, which have no NOC, so applied to represent the Great Albion instead and earn the right to compete in the London Olympics, thereby an identical case to Istanbul bronze medallist Shara Proctor who has switched allegiance from Anguilla.

Williams will still have to be cleared first to become eligible for the British team for London but that shouldn’t normally take that much time while he already holds the A qualifying standard for the 200m with 20.53 secs from earlier this winter, which would render him as a genuine contender for an individual berth.

At the same time, he is also a very competent quarter-miler of a PB of 45.7 secs, albeit not yet registered in the IAAF statistics, that could set him up nicely to turn a valuable asset for the men’s 4x400m relay in the future as well.

On Friday evening, he accomplished the first part of his campaign as recovered from a poor start to come through strong in the later stages and snatch the 100m title at the death in a PB of 10.37 (-0.5m/sec) from Jazeel Murphy, runner-up in 10.39.

A thriller as the shorter dash turned out, his authority was never to be questioned over the 200m the following day. He swept smoothly round the bend to come into the home straight well in command and built on powerfully thereon all the way to carve out huge daylight on the opposition, crossing the line almost half a second clear in 21.18 to 21.67 secs.

His time may not make headlines at first sight but seen against a -3.3m/sec adverse gale blowing into his face that translates into something in the 20.4 secs region or thereabouts, having eased through the semifinals in 20.75 secs – now that is something to turn heads!

But what really mattered, as he beamed during his post-race interview, was that both golds were buried and dusted in the bag and a giant step was taken towards those precious Olympics in London for a magical couple of days.

Incidentally, Jamaica-based Briton Nethanee Mitchell-Blake scrambled through to sneak bronze in 21.72 secs in that latter final after a PB of 21.49 through the rounds earlier on, completing a virtual British double presence on the podium.

Having swept off to startling opener of 10.06 secs (2.8m/sec) the previous weekend, Wallace Spearmon set the sprinting world alight and buzzing in anticipation of his follow-up over his specialty of the 200m at the Bobby Lane Invitational, Arlington in Texas, and he could hardly hide himself that he was expecting something really special to register on the scoreboard at the far end of the race.

In so far as that he set up, along with Saucony, a competition online for fans to predict precisely the outcome just prior to his second outing of the outdoor season – and astonishingly, there were actually two to hit the bull’s eye!

The ‘Prince’ did not only turn equal to expectations but ran away with the senses of spectators as he breezed into the lead round a smooth second half of the bend and poured on the pace down the home straight to win by a mile in an electrifying 19.95 secs, even easing up towards the line.

The god of winds had allied with him to show his favour and Spearmon responded with a dream execution throughout to ride on a nearly perfect tailwind of 1.8m/sec and offer frightening glimpses into what could be anticipated on the grand floodlit stage of London in August all things equal.

Even more so when his time was the fastest ever performed at sea level at this particular early phase of the year to raise his sub 20 secs runs up to 22 over the distance and come within a mere two of the man topping the respective list at 24, great Frankie Fredericks.

Some way behind him, came home a resurgent Jeremy Wariner in a vintage display over a powerful second half to steal the runner-up spot from Canadian Jared Connaughton by a mere hundredth in 20.53 secs, his fastest ever in March, and announce that he is fully back to his very best so everyone had better pay heed.

Earlier on the day, Darvis ‘Doc’ Patton staged a rousing prelude to his partner’s lightning ride round the furlong as he roared to a searing 10.04 secs (1.1m/sec) in the 100m, fastest time in the world, for a commanding victory, stressing his own credentials as a main contender to make the US Olympic sprint team this summer.

So much so that he even let drop that he might have liked something in the 9.9 secs to figure up on the board after the race, a sign of how well he is feeling at this early stage.

But it was also a race that marked a comeback to form for ‘forgotten’ Brit Tyrone Edgar as he followed through behind in fifth place in a solid UK-leading 10.30 secs to shrug off the woes of two years in the shades, reigniting his own Olympic hopes into the bargain.

That was incidentally his fastest run in the dash since 2010 and hopefully will shape the platform to catapult back into the 10.0s and why not even faster if it comes to that, a most welcome present for his 30th birthday a few days later.

Fellow U23 Briton Lorraine Ugen followed up nicely a highly surprising, slightly windy, 6.83m in the long jump at Fort Worth a weekend earlier with a double PB showing over the sprints setting 11.68 and 24.51 secs in the 100m (1.9m/sec) and 200m (0.0) respectively, a very intriguing figure heading to the summer season.

Top of the bill in the latter came Osaka 2007 finalist La Shauntea Moore who set the third fastest time in the world so far in 22.94 secs on a 1.3m/sec tailwind in a renewed attempt to return to the hub of affairs.



Oliver storms to scorching opener

David Oliver showed over his injury worries and back into his combative mood as he went rampant over the sticks to stage an intimidating outdoor debut in Florida.

At a low-key meet in Lake Buena Vista, near Orlando in Florida, he defied a fierce headwind of -3.2m/sec in his heat to set an impressive early world-leading 13.30, translating into something in the 13.0s on a mild tailwind.

His return in the final a little later might have not been as arresting but his message was duly delivered around that he is back on business and anyone should pay attention, at least as much as a 13.37 into a strong adverse wind of 1.3m/sec can be taken lightly at this phase.

After thoroughly dominating the world stage in 2010, the American record holder never really hit his stride last summer to crash outside the medals in Daegu but now looks back to his best and determined to claim what is his.

Her indoor term may have stretched longer than most but in a Wagner-esque manner Katarina Johnson-Thompson‘s campaign followed a pattern of continual powerful crescendos working up to a sensational finale as she narrowly missed out on great Karolina Kluft‘s global indoor U20 landmark in the pentathlon.

Neither the venue nor the timing of her venture recommended such a high-class showing leading up to a three-side multi-event international between Britain, France and Spain in Cardiff despite a lengthy string of PBs en route. Yet, the Merseysider turned up with ideas of her own to issue a vigorous statement before turning round into a massive outdoor season.

At the end of the day, it is no mean feat to shake a mark of 4535pts set in Wien that laid a sound platform for the Swede to conquer the senior European crown in Munich back in 2002, indicating that the young Briton could be on the verge of a quantum leap on the international ladder.

Johnson-Thompson hit the ground running as she swept over the hurdles in 8.48 secs, tying her nearly month-old PB, for 1021pts to a flying start before she swung onto the infield to set the arena alight as she soared over a big PB of 1.88m in the high jump, worth a mighty 1080pts to the good.

Adding to the amazement, that made the highest an U20 girl from these shores has cleared since an identical figure by Vikki Hubbard in 2006 and just 3cm shy of the total British U20 record of 1.91m co-held by Lea Goodman (nee Haggett, 1991) and Susan Moncrief (nee Jones, 1997), moving up into equal fifth in the all-time charts.

For that matter, the individual event now savours a rare sight of four female high jumpers over 1.88m or higher in a single season, a privilege lost for many a year, with the entire outdoor spell still lying ahead at that.

The thrill of her latest feat ran away with KJT to put a third PB on the trot at 11.68m in the shot range (640pts) and she might have felt slightly disappointed to land at ‘only’ 6.24m (924pts) on the bounce in the long jump pit, having set a UK U20 indoor record of 6.39m this term.

And there was yet more to come as she wrapped up a fairy tale venture with a total new PB of 2:17.24 over the anchor 800m (861pts), her fourth out of five disciplines, to score an eventual 4526pts for a massive British junior indoor record by no less than 313pts, also the owner of the previous marker at 4213 from Sheffield last year.

She must have taken a moment or two to shake off a momentary daze finding out how desperately close she had come to Kluft’s milestone, skimming past by a mere 9pts, but there would be no words to render her elation at gaining the age group runner-up spot in the history of the event worldwide, making her own mark on the global stage.

It is definitely going to be most intriguing to see how she is going to translate that form into the heptathlon now and it won’t be long before an initial gauge is obtained as she is lining up at the 25 Multistar at Desenzano, Italy, on 5 & 6 May, a multi-eventer also contested by Kelly Sotherton on her return to these quarters.

Meaning that the event will also hold an incorporated essential first British head-to-head between two of the three main contenders for the remaining two Olympic berths alongside certain-to-be-selected Jessica Ennis, the third being Commonwealth champion Louise Hazell.

Incidentally, Johnson-Thompson has also moved third highest scorer ever in the overall rankings of the pentathlon in Britain behind only Ennis’s recent 4965pts in Istanbul and Sotherton’s  4852pts in Valencia 2008.

A name to watch out for the future is also Morgan Lake, having not turned her 15 yet, who turned in an astonishing for her tender age 3953pts in the U20 competition to miss out on winner Aurelie Chaboudez (FRA) by a mere 4 points.

Her superb score sheet displayed a 9.10 secs in the hurdles, 1.79m (PB) in the high jump, 11.32m in the shot, 5.61m in the long jump and a PB of 2:26.55 in the 800m – the prospects of the event look brightest indeed!

Katy Marchant was third on 3934pts, an agonizing sole point outside her PB, as she set PBs of 8.67 secs over the sticks and 2:25.07 over 800m for a solid performance in her own right.


PS The highest ever total assembled by an U20 belongs to East German Sibylle Thiele with 4694pts (8.59, 1.86, 14.32, 6.51, 2:20.4) from 1984 but was performed on an oversize track and thus cannot count for record purposes.

The men’s 50km race walking is an event that has not only fallen from grace but even sunk into an abyss of anonymity as the golden triumphs of Tommy Green (1932), Harry Whitlock (1936) and Don Thompson (1952) in the Olympics feel all but forgotten and ranks are scattered nowadays.

Chris Maddocks was the last walker to represent Britain in the ultimate showpiece back in Sydney 2000 to simply illustrate the plunging fortunes in this quarter through the last age, as does the shortage of marks under four hours since his clocking of 3h57:10 that very year; but that could be about to change…

Driven by the call of the home Olympics, Dominic King walked out of his skin to clock a huge PB of 4h06:34 at the high-profile Dudinska Patdesiatka, Slovakia, on Saturday and earn a solid footing in the Olympic B qualifying territory (4h09) that could hand him a much longed-for spot on the British team for London.

The 28-year-old Colchester Harrier slashed well over 8 minutes off his previous lifetime figure of 4h14:55 from last year in doing so to move up into eighth in the UK all-time lists for good measure. But, funnily enough, his new mark cannot go down even as a family best since twin brother Daniel holds a PB of 4h04:49 from the former leap year.

Nothing can be taken for granted, of course, but with the Olympics held on home soil selectors and fans could feel inclined alike to see Team GB represented in as many events across the Games program as possible, even if King does not suggest medal or top eight material.

By the way, Daniel posted a substantial PB of 71:44 over 10 miles a mere couple of seconds behind his brother at the Lee Valley last month and it will be interesting to see whether he could challenge Dominic’s claim in this matter. At any rate, it’s good to see some light glimmering at the end of the tunnel for the event after some time.

Reigning Olympic champion Alex Schwazer cashed in on a superb sharpener of 1h17:30 to win over 20km in Lugano the previous weekend, a national record and sixth fastest in history, and dominated with aplomb in the teeth of warm conditions into a world-leading mark of 3h40:58, issuing a statement around that he is heading to London fully prepared to defend his title.

The Italian did not fail to admit so in his post-race interview, saying “I was thinking I can go somewhere around 3:45 so I’m even surprised it was so fast. It shows I’m in my best shape ever,” although he should expect a tough proposition from his Russian rivals in particular.

Lukasz Nowak was runner-up well behind in a PB of 3h44:24 and compatriot Rafal Sikora closed out the podium slots in also a PB of 3h46:16 as they endeavour to uphold the vast legacy left to Polish race-walking by great Robert Korzeniowski.

German Andre Hohne was fourth in 3h49:50 and Alexandros Papamichail followed on fifth in a huge PB of 3h55:13, fastest by a Greek race-walker since 1990, while Brendan Boyce as good as secured selection for the Irish Olympic team by way of a second A qualifier on the trot in 3h57:53, a slight PB by five seconds.

European champion Yohan Diniz (FRA) was also due to line up and set up an enthralling encounter with Schwazer on a fabulous national record of 1h17:43 for runner-up in Lugano, tenth fastest ever, but was apparently a late withdrawal.

IAAF Report

Incidentally, Tom Bosworth worked his way to a big PB of 1h25:49 for an overall 28th in that same race in Switzerland the previous weekend to draw within shouting distance of the B Olympic standard (1h24:30) for London, providing further evidence of turning fortunes for British race-walking.

The U23 athlete knocked a good 1:29 off his previous best from last year and will need to find at least a further 1:19 off to make a solid case for selection, which looks well capable of. His time was the fastest in two years by a Brit for good measure.

Bosworth’s groupmate Alex Wright got disqualified and Ben Wears pulled a SB of 1h29:52, not far off his PB of 1h29:00, for 36th some way behind.

Guatemala’s Erick Barrondo was third in a hefty national record of 1h18:25 followed in fourth by Ukraine’s Nazar Kovalenko in 1h19:55 to round out four national landmarks out of the top four finishers in a contest of excellent depth.

Tatiana Sibileva (RUS) walked away a convincing winner in the women’s version despite coming considerably shy of her SB in 1h28:03 ahead of Guatemala’s Mirna Ortiz in 1h28:54, doubling the country’s national marks on the day, and third-spotted Elisa Rigaudo (ITA) in 1h29:25.


Goldie Sayers came out top performer of the British outfit on show at the European Cup Winter Throwing in Bar, Montenegro, as she received high marks on her second pre-season assignment by means of a further Olympic A qualifier and a new UK leading figure in the javelin this season.

Goldie Sayers in her post-competition interview

The Beijing fourth-placer took some time to get into her rhythm through the competition but got her throwing together in the fourth round to reach 62.75m and improve on her 62.18m opener from Loughborough for an eventual runner-up behind Slovenian Martina Ratej, the current world leading marker setting 63.59m in her second effort.

If there could be an early note of caution for the Briton, that should be pointed out to putting up her average across her series as she couldn’t find her way over the 60m line in any of her other five efforts (X, 57.53, 59.32, 62.75, 59.56, X) – but there is plenty of time for that to be ironed out.

Daegu finalist Brett Morse might have been looking for something more than fifth at a SB and UK leading 61.63m, having flung the overweight 2.5kg implement in the same region in training, but had to endure a long wait before he clicked into gear in his very last effort of a competition convincingly won by Dutchman Eric Cadee at a SB of 64.09m.

Yet, the Welshman can still be content with a distance that was over 2m on his respective outing last year, his series 56.68, 59.22, X, 58.36, X, 61.63, whereas Chris Scott struggled down in last place at only 56.78m.

Coming on the back of a potential world indoor best of 58.97m in Vaxjo, Jade Nicholls found the particular discus circle tough going, just like Scott, to languish down in ninth place at a third-round 56.92m in the women’s A competition with three fouls to her account.

But it’s very much about blowing away some winter cobwebs at the moment and she has got to wait for all components of her performance to fall in place, as has Eden Francis who opened her discus account with 54.85m in the B pool.

Global silver medallist Nadine Muller (GER), though, has come out all guns blazing this season to fire a thunderous warning to her major rivals with a last-round early PB of 68.89m, the farthest mark set worldwide since Irina Yatsenko‘s 69.14 in 2004, backed up by an earlier marginally lower intermediate PB of 68.81m and two more throws in the 67m, displaying frightening form and consistency.

Croatian European champion Sandra Perkovic, returning from a ban, was no slouch either to show that she has lost none of her throwing prowess by way of a 67.19m to clinch the U23 competition as the event looks to be working up to an exciting prospect in view of the Olympics.

Francis suffered a nightmare showing in the women’s shot on the opening day as she could only register a mere valid attempt of 16.03m to finish way down in 14th place as red-hot favourite Nadzeya Ostapchuk comfortably asserted herself with a last-gasp 20.29m topping out a consistent series ahead of Germany’s Nadine Kleinert (19.12).

Portoguese Marco Fortes made amends for a disappointing world indoor campaign in Istanbul, crashing out of the final, as he put an outdoor world-leading and national record of 21.02m at his third attempt in the men’s edition.

In the women’s hammer, Sarah Holt placed a useful second in the B group at 64.17m in her third attempt behind Tereza Kralova‘s (CZE) 66.13m while Moldova’s Zalina Marghieva served up a major upset on world champion Tatyana Lysenko (RUS) by landing a national record of 73.60m against the latter’s 72.87m, with France’s Stephanie Falzon third at 72.60m in a close tussle.

Alex Smith slotted in a decent fifth spot in the men’s equivalent A pool where Russia’s Kiril Ikonnikov prevailed at 75.95m as men struggled to meet their standards on the first day, with Scot Mark Dry getting the win in the B competition out of a 69.69m best on the day.

Closing out the British entries, Merwyn Luckwell and Lee Doran suffered below par displays with 74.98 and 73.73m for sixth and eighth in the senior men’s javelin well down on Turkey’s Avan Fatih who turned out the only marker over 80m with a SB of 81.09m.


Meanwhile, Oklahoma-based U20 Nick Miller hurled a big PB of 72.80m with the junior implement (6kg) to win at the Tulsa Duels in Stillwater and go top of the UK respective charts for an encouraging opener to the season. His previous best was down to 66.79m from two seasons ago at the UK U23 Championships in Bedford.