Havering athletes compete at London Inter Clubs Challenge

Havering's Sam Sanusi and Jacob Blanc (pic Nicole Blanc)

Havering's Sam Sanusi and Jacob Blanc (pic Nicole Blanc) - Credit: Archant

Havering athletes began the coronavirus-delayed 2020 season at the first round of the London Inter Clubs Challenge at Lee Valley.

With timed entry and exit times, races limited to four athletes in adjacent lanes and group marshalling in place, it was not athletics as most know it.

But club members were pleased to bet back on track, albeit four months later than planned.

The two-day event organised by Shaftesbury Barnet AC saw under-15s and under-17s take part on Saturday and under-20s and seniors on Sunday.

Sam Sanusi kicked off proceedings with a win in the first race, the under-17 men’s 100m hurdles, and Jacob Blanc took the second heat on his under-17 outdoor debut with an even faster time.

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James With was edged into second in the third heat before Paige Robinson won on her under-17 debut in the 80m hurdles heat ands indoor medalist Paris King was a good second to Croydon’s top-ranked Lia Bonsu in the under-15 75m hurdles.

Karis Thomas’s 100m PB was the second fastest by an under-17 woman and there were good season openers in the 100m for under-15s Rhys Cole, Amyna Willock (PB) and Cassie Campbell.

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For the boys, Denzel Achi posted the fastest club time in the under-17 men’s 100m, with Ridwan Salaam and younger brother Al-Ameen both setting new marks and Thomas Bird having his first run since joining.

Olivia Boachie and Ruby Tilson rounded off Saturday’s action in the 300m races, with five under-20s and a senior contesting Sunday’s event.

Chloe Williams was pleased with her first outdoor race for two years after a maternity break and Emma Ramsden was just outside her best on her under-20 100m outdoor debut.

Matthew Agnimel set a new 400m career mark in his first outdoor race as a senior, with Akeem Akintokun almost as fast, while Kimathi Christie missed out on one of the limited 400m places but contested the triple jump instead.

Havering club chairman Tony Benton said: “With all league and championship action cancelled this year, outdoor events are at a premium. Due to Covid restrictions few middle distance races are available and none are longer than 800m, to the frustration of endurance athletes.

“But it was good to see those able to compete making the most of the opportunities available after their recent return to training at Hornchurch Stadium.”

Round two is at Lee Valley on August 15/16.

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