Victory for TVH Ladies at the UK Women’s League Premier Division – Match 1

On a cold and blustery day, Thames Valley Harriers ladies made a great start to the UKWAL Premier Division pulling away in the last few events from Edinburgh for a commanding victory. TVH won by 17.5 points at the home of last year’s champions, Birchfield Harriers, who finished 1 point behind Edinburgh in 3rd place.

TVH took one of their largest teams ever to a national league match at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham. Everyone made a significant contribution to TVH’s victory. As usual, there was a fantastic atmosphere amongst the team from the first to last event. Despite the cold weather conditions, TVH ladies were rewarded with an amazing 8 wins, 4 new club records and 8 personal best performances. The team is incredibly well balanced this year with points being evenly split between A and B strings, and between track and field. It was very encouraging to see all our new athletes being doing so well. Continue reading Victory for TVH Ladies at the UK Women’s League Premier Division – Match 1

TVH Athletes Find Their Feet in a Solid Premiership Return

The last time that TVH men competed in the Premiership was in 2007, and with three surviving members of that team amongst us (Nav Childs, Jason Comissiong, and Steve Whyte), we travelled up to Sheffield to kick-start our 2017 campaign. The hotel stay and team meal allowed team members to catch up and for the now famous TVH Spirit to rekindle after the relatively dormant winter months.

Continue reading TVH Athletes Find Their Feet in a Solid Premiership Return

TVH Athlete Spotlight – Jude Bright-Davies

The rapid strides made by Jude Bright-Davies over the last three years have developed him into one the UK finest young triple jumpers. He has leaped to number one UK ranking in the U20 triple jump this year, having claimed a England U20 indoor gold at Sheffield in February and set a new PB of 15.56 when coming fifth in the British Indoor Team Trials.  He pulled on an England vest at a meeting in Vienna in January.

Jude’s great start to this year comes on the back of some fine performances in 2016 which propelled him to gold in the England Athletics U20 outdoor Championships at Bedford, as well as a silver in the England indoor championships. He is also a high-quality long jumper, adding a Middlesex indoor gold this year to a growing collection since he started competing intensively in 2014 as an U17, including sprinting with the Track Academy at Willesden.

Last season was disrupted by an injury in who the European Junior Championships and Jude’s big target this year is to qualify for that event to make up for that disappointment. He has bounced back well from that injury and we wish him all the best for the outdoor season which gathers pace with the Middlesex T & F Outdoor Championships on May 13-14.

Performance progression:

1. How did you get into athletics ?

Before secondary school I didn’t even know what athletics was! I was introduced to Triple Jump in a PE lesson and have enjoyed it ever since.

2. Which achievements in the sport are you proudest of?

My proudest achievement would probably be from the National Outdoor Champs last season as I had been troubled with injury throughout the outdoors and wasn’t expecting anything huge and managed to PB and win the competition.

3. What have been the biggest factors in your development?

My coach, David Johnson, has been key to my development. He’s coached me since I first started training for athletics and has enabled me to develop into an international athlete.

4. What’s the toughest challenge you’ve overcome?

After getting injured at the European Championships in July I’ve had to rehab my ankle and catch up on lost training in order to be ready in time for the indoor season that just passed. It was definitely a tough few months!

5. Who have been your heroes/role models? And your mentors?

In current international triple jump I would say I look up to Christian Taylor as he’s a 2x World and Olympic Champion and has also had jumps close to the world record. He’s not only a great jumper but has really quick 200m and 400m times.

6. What part has TVH played in your development?

TVH has always kept me updated as to what competitions are available to compete in such as the British League so that I can plan my season around them and contribute when I can.

7. What are your top athletics goals – for the near-term and the long-term? 

First and foremost I would like to qualify for the European Junior Championships this year. The standard is 15.70m so I’ve still got 14cm to go! I’d also like to break the 16m barrier this year. In future I’d want to keep competing at an international level and compete in a world championship.

8. What are your interests and aims outside athletics?

I have my A-Level exams this year so I would like to get the grades to secure my place in my desired university. I also like playing table tennis and play the piano.

9. What’s your top training tip?

Execution starts in training so take every rep, set or run seriously!

10. Describe your personality in three words!

Determined, Ambitious and Tenacious

Two Gold and Three Silver Medals at BUCS

The British Universities & Colleges Sport Outdoor Athletics Championships (BUCS) held in Bedford between 29th April and 1st May. Once again this proved a success for TVH athletes, withthe 2017 outdoor season already getting off to a fantastic start as athletes set personal bests, win medals and earn their University points.

Zoey Clark in her final year at university became BUCS 400m champion for the first time. Zoey eased her way into the final with easy winning runs in the heats (55.48) and semi-final (54.65). In windy conditions in the final, Zoey still managed to run her second fastest ever time over a single lap of the track, 52.75, to take the BUCS title by over 1 second.

Another maiden BUCS gold came from TVH’s new higher competition athlete, Clare Maurer, with a great clearance in the pole vault at 3.80m. Clare is a great addition to the ladies squad and we look forward to seeing her competing for TVH in the national league.

Having represented GB at the Fazaa Para Athletics Championships in Dubai at the end of March, AmarMazigh Aichoun was back in action in Bedford competing for his university. Amar had a fantastic competition by winning two silver medals in the Ambulatory 100m and 200m with very good times of 12.47 and 25.05 into strong headwinds of over 2m/s.

Tayla Benson was also in fine form in the 100m hurdles. Tayla narrowly missed out on a place in the final when running a new lifetime best time of 14.44 to finish 3rd in her semi-final, having earlier run 14.89 in her heats into strong headwinds.

One of the favorites for the 400m hurdles final was TVH’s Chris McAlister who looked to be in superb form in his semi-final when finishing nearly 3 seconds ahead of his nearest rival with a solid run of 52.85. In the final Chris had a good lead entering the home straight but cluttered hurdle 8 very badly. He somehow managed to stay on his feet and ran determinedly to the line finishing just outside the medals in 4th place with 53.63.

In a very strong high jump competition, TVH had an amazing four athletes make the women’s high jump final, namely Annabelle Bates, Ella Widdop-Gray, Pippa Rogan and Teele Palumaa. It was Teele who had the best competition in the tricky weather conditions by claiming a fantastic silver medal in her first ever BUCS competition with a jump of 1.78m. Former champion, Pippa, was just outside the medals in 5th with 1.72m and Ella was back close to her best winning valuable points for her university with 1.66m for 6th place. Cambridge University student Annabelle Bates, who’s in a very busy period with her veterinary course, jumped lower than her qualifying height of 1.63m as she finished 12th.

Three TVH athletes contested the triple jump; Ella Widdop-Gray, Lia Stephenson and Teele Palumaa. Both Lia and Teele easiery qualified for the final with jumps of 11.89m and 11.44m. Ella’s jump of 10.06m was good enough for 10th in her qualifying pool. In the final both Lia and Teele narrowly missed out on the medals as they finished 4th and 5th with 12.01m and 11.78m respectively.

Long jumper Ogo Anochirionye was another athlete very close to the medals. Ogo qualified well with a jump of 6.95m for 3rd place in his pool. In the final he went even higher with 7.29m finishing in 4th place.

In her last BUCS competition Danielle Opara finished 4th in a strong shot put competition. Having easily qualified with 12.65m for  2nd place in her pool, Danielle launched the shot put 13.29m in the final.

Ellie-Mae Stokes (HCA) doubled up to do the long jump and javelin. In the long jump, Ellie was close to her personal best with 5.14m  jump placing 7th and a throw of 32.14m for 9th place in her qualifying pools.

Another one of TVH’s throwers who doubled up was Raul Rinken, who competed in the shot put and discus. A throw of 10.70m earnt him 9th place in his shot put qualifying group, however this was not quite enough to make the final. He did however qualify in the discus with a throw of 39.93m and in the final he improved to 41.83m for an excellent 5th place finish.