ATHLETICS: Six Grantham students battle for England places

Lincolnshire enjoyed onen of their most successful English Schools Athletics Championships for a number of years at the weekend.

Four Lincs athletes were selected to compete for England at the Schools International in Dublin this weekend, where they will be up against teams from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Only four other counties have more international athletes than Group C Lincs.

The English Schools event in the fourth largest athletics meeting in the world, with 110 events and seven hours of non-stop competition each day, and athletes from 44 counties taking part.

Under-17 Amy Hunt (KGGS) added another English Schools gold to the two she achieved at under-15 in the 100m, to qualify for an England place (see back page of this week’s Grantham Journal).

Leading up to the championships, Tom Evans (King’s) and Lewis Davey (Priory Ruskin) were ranked first and second in the UK in the under-17 400m, with Ethan Brown of Kent ranked third. They all won their heats in 48.87s, 49.31s and 49.43s respectively to qualify for the final.

Going into the home straight in the final, Tom was in the lead with Ethan second. Ethan made a surge in the final few metres to win in 48.22, with Lewis (48.52s) nabbing second place and an England berth by one one-hundredth of a second from a disappointed Tom.

Priory Ruskin student Praise Olalere ran well in the under-17 200m, placing second in his heat with 22.42s for a spot in the semi-finals. His semi saw him finish fifth in 22.43, missing out on a place in the final by two one-hundredths of a second.

Tom, Lewis and Praise all ran in the 4x100m relay and did well to qualify for the final in which they finished seventh, up against teams in the Group A counties.

Katie Mackintosh (Walton Girls) competed in the 300m hurdles in which she finished sixth in her heat with a personal best 45.87s.

Under-15 Gareth Lee (King’s) was on the reserve list and gained selection when an athlete was forced to with draw. In his first year competing in the 800m, he justified his place by running a gutsy race for sixth place in his heat in a personal best 2m 6.37s.

He so impressed the team managers that he was chosen to lead Lincs in the parade of teams on Saturday afternoon.