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AAA & UK CAU Senior Championships: Commentator's Preview

England Athletics AAA & UK CAU Senior Championships

England Athletics AAA & UK CAU Senior Championships

I can't think of a better reason to watch this weekend's athletics than last year's blistering 9.96 run by GB bobsledder Joel Fearon (Michael Khmel). 

It was an ordinary, overcast, typical British summer weekend, you might say. Conditions were pretty good in Bedford for the combined AAA and UK CAU Inter-Counties competition that's had a real buzz about it in the last couple of years I've covered it for Vinco's runjumpthrow.com. But it seems not me, the rest of the team, other athletes, spectators, nor even Joel Fearon himself quite expected the outcome. 

The first day began on a high note. Reece Prescod (Jonas Dodoo) set the tone by running 10.04 in the very first heat of the men's 100 metres. Big things were expected, though perhaps from the more recent world trials winner himself. As it happened, the towering figure Prescod did not take part in the semi-final, leaving winter Olympian Fearon among the bigger names left to fight including Reuben Arthur, Theo Etienne (both Ryan Freckleton) and Andrew Robertson (Sam Robertson).

In several candid interviews since that day, Joel's talked about how close he came to putting athletics to one side, how he got a pizza delivery job for a extra income, and even how his sleep was interrupted the night before the race.  

It started off close - a quick getaway from Robertson drew the Sale Harrier alongside Fearon - but the eventual winner's formidable pace and strength soon paid dividends. As they crossed the line, Andrew Robertson's body language appeared to show natural disappointment, yet he ran an impressive 10.15. A similtaneous eruption of joy from Joel kept his momentum going half way around the lap. 

More than anything, that moment serves as proof of just how this sport is never written until it unfolds before our eyes. Whatever lies ahead for the 28-year-old, he'll always have that memory to keep him going, and hopefully it'll inspire others this year too.

Without Fearon on the list of entries, Andrew Robertson will be out to improve on last year's silver medal, with Reuben Arthur, Joseph Dewar (Gladys Bird) and Kyle De Escofet (Andy Paul) joining following their return from the European Under-23 Championships in Poland. 

Imani Lansiquot's (Jonas Dodoo) pain of finishing fourth in that tournament could be eased by a win on the women's side, although expect her to be kept honest by Rachel Miller (Gary Telfer) and Diani Walker (Lloyd Cowan). The latter always seems to find a way of picking up a medal in these types of competitions. 

There are still a few bits and pieces of business to do, from a World Championships qualifying perspective. Tom Gale's (Denis Doyle) new personal best this year is just two centimetres off the magic 2.30 mark. It's a case of job done for Meghan Beesley (Michael Baker), but she'll be hoping to improve on her season's best after limited running in 2017. Meanwhile, UK number ones Jade Lally (Andrew Neal) and Scott Lincoln (Paul Wilson) go in the discus and shot respectively. 

With Alicia Barrett's (Toni Minichello) extraordinary rise through the ranks this year, we shouldn't forget how consistent fellow young sprint hurdlers Yasmin Miller (Robert Smith) and Mollie Courtney (David Warner) have been this season. There's often been little to choose between the pair, and this battle should be eagerly anticipated, just as it was at the England Under-23s and the British Universities (BUCS).

Other strong events to look out for include the women's 400 metres with Kirsten McAslan (Trevor Painter), Lina Nielsen (Frank Adams) and Margaret Adeoye (Linford Christie), with a relay spot still potentially there for the taking. The men's 800 could well be a fiesty last lap burnout with Jamie Webb (Rob Denmark) involved along with defending champion Max Wharton (Mark Goldie), Spencer Thomas (Jon Bigg) and David Dempsey (self-coached).

There's also a notable inclusion of Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) in what I think we can all agree has been a phenomenal year for the women's 1500. 

So, whether you've cleared your diary completely, or can join us for part of your busy weekend, be sure to tune in live to runjumpthrow.com on Saturday and Sunday. You'll find the timetable here along with event information on our hosts England Athletics website and can join in the conversation by tagging @VincoSport on twitter.


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