Havering youngsters relay good form claims dozen medals and two records

PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 July 2018

Havering's Aaliyah Payne, Paige Robinson, Shalom Gbadebo and Bella Smith broke the under-15 girls' 4x100m record at the Essex Relay Championships (Emily Brown)

Havering's Aaliyah Payne, Paige Robinson, Shalom Gbadebo and Bella Smith broke the under-15 girls' 4x100m record at the Essex Relay Championships (Emily Brown)


Young Havering athletes returned from the Essex Relay Championships at Basildon with a dozen medals and two new club records.

Havering's Brad James, CharlieBlack, Jacob Blanc and Daragh Thomas broke the under-15 boys 4x300m record at the Essex Relay Championships (Nicole Blanc)Havering's Brad James, CharlieBlack, Jacob Blanc and Daragh Thomas broke the under-15 boys 4x300m record at the Essex Relay Championships (Nicole Blanc)

The under-15 girls had looked like threatening the long-standing club sprint relay best this season, and accomplished that with over two months to spare.

Aaliyah Payne, Paige Robinson, Shalom Gbadebo and Bella Smith came close to the 50.5secs best with their 50.62 heat clocking, before wheir winning final time of 50.30 finally consigned a record which dated back to 1971 to the history books.

And it was highly appropriate that Ruth O’Sullivan, who was a member of that team from 47 years ago, now coaches two of Havering’s record-breaking quartet.

Tayllah Barton-Conde anchored the B team to silver after fine legs from Jessie Collier, Uche Okpalauko and Freya Higginbottom.

And Higginbottom, Barton-Conde and Okpalauko were later joined by Olivia Boachie in the gold-medal winning 4x300m squad, while Alice Atkins, Hannah Yexley and Sydney Foley took bronze in the 3x800m event in the same age group.

The second record to fall was the under-15 boys’ 4x300m relay best as all-rounder Brad James put Havering in front and Daragh Thomas and Charlie Black extended the lead before Jacob Blanc brought them home in 2.41.34, clipping a second off the year-old club best.

The B team of Lenny Houston, Jed Oni, Matthew Blacklock and Sam Bradley won bronze and Blacklock and Bradley were joined by Charlie Howell to win bronze in the 3x800m race.

Stephanie Okoro’s anchor leg clinched under-13 girls’ sprint relay gold, after legs from Tilly Canty, Paris King and Ruby Higgins put her in contention.

And Okoro combined again with Canty and Higgins to win 3x800m silver as the under-13 boys’ sprint relay foursome won bronze, thanks to legs from Reece Malcolm, Lewis Dixon, Teddy Matthews and Dominic Alexandru,

Under-17 boys Reece Harriott, Somto Okpalauko, Oliver Ray and Alex Friend won 4x400m silver, and Friend and Harriott were joined by Louis Berrett to win 3x800m bronze.

Club spokesman Tony Benton said: “These championships were the perfect showcase for our talented young athletes to show the strength in depth that is developing thanks to the efforts of our coaches and the work of our team managers in getting them to the starting line.”

*Havering are in pole position to earn promotion to the Youth Development League’s Southern Premier after a big win at Croydon.

The under-17 boys had 10 wins, with Tom Milton taking the shot in a career best, winning the discus and finishing second in the hammer with a new best.

Peter Brinton-Quinn was runner-up in the B discus and A javelin, with Luke Chester winning the B string, and Aaron Freshwater was second in the B hammer.

Tobi Idowu and Ben Olusesan took full points in the long jump and there were B string wins for Reece Debenham (vault, PB), and Kimathi Christie (high jump). Christie was second in the B string triple jump.

Harry Jones and Louis Berrett won a steeplechase double, with Jones second on his 3000m debut, while Reece Harriott won the 400m and as Somto Okpalauko’s best took second in the B string.

Alex Friend was an 800m runner-up before Christie, Friend, Okpalauko and Harritt won the 4x400m relay.

The under-20 men claimed excellent points in the middle distance events, as Ben Davis and Elliot Cordery won their 800m races and Sam Atkins and Tom Keevil took the steeplechase honours.

Keevil also won the 1500m and Atkins was second in the 3000m, while James Stewart won the B 300m and Kieran O’Hara’s best took second in the 1500m.

National medallist Shandell Taylor won the long jump with another leap beyond seven metres and was second in the triple jump and high jump, as Lewis Debenham, Davis, Cordery and Keevil won the 4x400m relay.

Kate O’Neill’s best won the under-20 women’s 1500m as Sophie Rand took the B race, while Jessica Mitchell’s season’s best won the 800m.

Katie Dawson was second in the 400m and Mayi Hughes won the long jump in a new best of 5.62m – fifth longest ever by a club female – and the B shot, as Philippa Gill took the A string as well as the hammer and was second in the javelin.

Keturah Christie shared victory in the high jump, as Holly Nash (triple jump) and Izzy Purdie (long jump) added second places and Sophie Rand typified the strong team spirit with second in the 1500m and discus.

Dawson, Mitchell, Rand and O’Neill won the 4x400m relay.

The under-17 girls were shorthanded but English Schools-bound Alex Adeniji won the A shot and B discus, as Robyn Moody (discus) and Adelaide Thatcher-Gray (javelin) added second places.

Amy Kilner won the B 800m, while Molly Sweetman (1500m) and Grace Dukelow (3000m) were both second.

A good result in the final meeting at Ashford at the end of the month will see the squad promoted to the highest Southern Premier Division against some of the strongest teams in the UK.

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