In glum conditions on Sunday afternoon, Perri Shakes-Drayton provided the crowd with the stand out performance at the Bedford International Games in the women’s 400m A race with an Olympic A standard of 51.26. The mark puts her 2nd on the UK lists this year between Christine Ohuruogu and Shana Cox, both who ran season’s bests at the New York Diamond League during the same weekend. Shakes-Drayton’s final 200m was the difference where she made her move and left her rivals trailing.
Second in the 400m behind Shakes-Drayton was Ireland’s Joanne Cuddihy who ran a PB of 51.78, a couple of tenths shy of the Olympic A standard also. Cuddihy later came back to win the women’s 200m in a time of 23.64. The men’s equivalent was won by James Ellington in 21.14, who would later also win the 100m in 10.47, with headwind’s being to blame for times being slower than they might have been. Edward Amaning (u20) continued his good form with a PB of 21.30 to win the C race too.
Elsewhere in the sprints, Richard Morrissey beat the talented youngster Clovis Asong to 1st in a time of 47.32. Elsewhere in the sprints, Jermaine Hamilton won the u17 ICE final in 10.95. Jonathan Peacock T44 also ran a PB of 11.23 into a -3.2m/s headwind. Montell Douglas won a close 100m against a strong field in 11.54 also. Adam Gemili, in his first race since running 10.08, anchored GB Junior A home in a time of 39.52.
Although the hurdle specialist Shakes-Drayton focused her efforts on the flat this weekend, the hurdle events still provided some great performances, especially in the sprint hurdles. Sarah Claxton won both of her hurdle races into headwinds, her best being a 13.17, narrowly shy of the Olympic B standard in a year where Claxton is trying to emulate her 2008 form. In the 110mh a great battle between Joseph Hylton and Gianni Frankis took place, both winning one race each. Hylton ran 2 personal bests (13.90 then 13.74), while Frankis achieved 2 seasons bests (13.87 and 13.77). In the u20 equivalent, James Gladman maintained his dominance of the age group winning both races, his best being 13.72. Jake Porter joined him in running sub 14, with a time of 13.97. In the absence of Shakes-Drayton, Meghan Beesley won the women’s 400mh comfortably in a time of 57.22.
Away from the track, many big names took part in the field events. Coming off the back of breaking the British heptathlon record, Jess Ennis won the women’s long jump in 6.40m, 1cm ahead of Dominique Blaize in 2nd place. In the other horizontal jumps, Matthew Burton won the men’s long jump in 7.75m, while V35 Trecia Smith won the women’s triple jump in 13.79m. Michael Puplampu won the men’s triple with a wind aided 16.59m (legal best 16.03m), while Nathan Fox jumped his second best distance ever in 16.20m (after jumping 16.29 in the BAL Premiership the day before). Both jumpers are coached by triple jump great Larry Achike.
Ennis also finished 8th in the javelin with a throw of 46.34m, while Laura Whittingham won the competition with a season’s best of 54.25m. Whittingham’s coach Esa Utriainen had a successful weekend, as another of his athletes Mervyn Luckwell won the men’s javelin with a throw of 80.81m. Another one of the country’s best throws coaches, John Hillier (coach to Lawrence Okoye, who placed 5th in the New York Diamond League over the weekend), also had a great weekend with coached athletes Scott Rider (18.32m) and Zane Duquemin (18.09m) securing 1st and 2nd in the men’s shot. Duquemin also placed 2nd in the men’s discuss (57.86m), Abdul Buhari secured victory with a throw of 60.14m. u23 Shaunagh Brown (also coached by Hillier) achieved 2nd place behind Rachel Wallader (16.12m), breaking 16m outdoors for the first time with 16.01m. Hillier’s Nicholas Percy won the u20 discuss with a PB of 56.11m, while Michael Painter extended his lead at the top of the u20 hammer with a PB of 73.34m.
Whilst competing, Ennis also witnessed her high jump CBP of 1.89m get broken by Isobel Pooley who jumped a new personal best of 1.90m. Tom Parson’s won the men’s high jump by 7cm with a best of 2.23m. However, Parson’s was visibly disappointed with his performance, which was a long way down on his personal best and on UK leader Robbie Grabbarz who jumped 2.36m to go 3rd on the all-time list this weekend.
Full results can be found here https://bedfordgames.athletics-uk.org/