YOUNG athletes from Yate & District AC played their usual prominent role in the third stunning victory by Team Avon in the Youth Development League, upper age group.
The team went into the match on Sunday in Cardiff with unassailable lead. Team managers, Sandra Woodman and Lesley Nunn, were far from complacent, with many regular and valuable team members dropping out. Injury, post-exam holidays – even, perhaps, Glastonbury – all took their toll and it was a depleted team that made the trip across the Severn.
In the under-20 men, the win by Abdi Hasan, stepping up a couple of distances to the 3000m, was a feature of the afternoon. For the first 2000m he tracked a couple of Cardiff runners but then stepped up the speed and took the lead. One Welsh runner kept with him until the bell when he powered into the final lap and came home well clear. His win was matched in the under-17 women’s 3000m by a fine personal best from Rosie Hamilton-James to claim the win.
Kate Howard had a successful afternoon, winning both under-20 800m and under-17 300m, demonstrating that you don’t have to be over seventeen to beat older girls. Jodie Dale was likewise a double winner, taking the discus B event and the A javelin, her main event.
Liam Hillier won the pole vault with a vault of 3.65m – well clear of the opposition. This was after he had come second in the opening event of the day – the 400m hurdles. Perhaps predictably, Toby Conibear and Owen Merrett took double honours in the under-17 hammer. Their throws of 61.26 and 51.97 respectively were both at least twice as far as the next best athletes.
Another athlete who worked hard through the afternoon was Nathaniel Mitchell. Against athletes almost a foot taller than him he managed a good fourth place in the individual 400m, but then, in the final event of the day, he ran a storming leg in the 4x400m relay, clocking close to fifty seconds. The team were so far ahead of the opposition by the finish that the second runner was just coming into the straight as the final Avon man crossed the line. Their aim is to break the league record, and there are few who would say they can’t do it one day.