Havering AC set five club records at London Club Relays and Hurdles event

Havering AC relay under-17s team with coach Rachel Kerr (Pic: Nicole Blanc)

Havering AC relay under-17s team with coach Rachel Kerr (Pic: Nicole Blanc) - Credit: Archant

Five club records fell on an impressive day of competition at the London Club: Connect Relays and Hurdles Meeting at Lee Valley on Saturday.

The relays event has been a highlight for club teams in recent years as it has been held as part of the Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium. And the substitute competition, although arranged at short notice, did not disappoint.

The under-17 women were the first to set new club marks. As the squad included three of the quartet who had claimed the under-15 record two years ago, this was always on the cards. 

Shalom Gbadebo’s opener set off Karis Thomas. She cruised down the back straight to hand over to Paige Robinson whose fine bend set up Aaliyah Payne to blast home in a time of 48.87s, which took two-tenths of the club mark set 15 years ago. It was also the under 20 record.

The quartet might have gone faster in the final but last leg runner Aaliyah felt a slight muscle pull so had to ease up. She still brought the team home in second.

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The under-17 men tasted double success in claiming the club under-17 and under-20 marks but it looked unlikely after the squad failed to get the baton round in their heat.

They made amends in the final as Sam Sanusi blasted off, handing over to Ridwan Salaam, whose perfect change set off Jacob Blanc round the bend to hand over to Denzel Achi who brought the squad home in third.

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Their time of 43.60s not only took a second off the mark set in the Olympic Stadium event from July 2019, it was also inside the club under-20 mark dating from 1986.

On a day of many successes the under-13 boys relay squad of Jack West, Joel Ajayi, Kaesi Okoro and Jude Ogundare impressed in finishing runners-up in their A final, and the under-15 girls also finished second as Cassie Campbell, Paris King, Steph Okoro and Rhys Cole successfully carried the baton round.

The day ended in style as England Athletics indoor hurdles silver medallist Sam Sanusi earned his second club record of the day.

The other hurdles highlight saw Al-Ameen Salaam go into the club all time under-15 boys’ 80m hurdles top 10 with his debut at the event and five other hurdlers set new career marks. 

Shandell Taylor claimed his first senior national medal as he won bronze at the televised British Championships at Manchester on Friday.

Shandell’s third round jump of 7.37m put him in contention for a podium place and after being edged into fourth in round four, he improved to 7.45m in the fifth round which proved to be good enough for national bronze. His leap received compliments from TV commentators Steve Backley and Jess Ennis-Hill’s coach Toni Minichello.

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