Backtrack Winter 2015

Page 1

s the dinner International athletes at

WINTER 2015 In this issue of Backtrack ... Event reports: European Cross-Country Championships, Bulgaria

Kate Avery and Gemma Steel: silver and gold in Bulgaria

Katarina JohnsonThompson BASC Annual Dinner David Omoregie Maria Lyle

Robbie Grabarz feels the weight of Jenny Meadows’ Diamond League trophy

BASC Young Male Athlete of the Year Thomas Somers tries Jenny Meadows’ trophy for size

David Omoregie

Jo Pavey with her parents

BASC Annual General Meeting Saturday February 21, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, 11am B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 3

1

14/01/2015 13:19:09


B R I T I S H AT H L E T I C S SU P P O RT E RS C LU B

Chairman: Philip Andrew OBE 173 Whirlowdale Road, philip@basclub.org.uk Secretary: Jon Mason 37 Hawthorn Grove, Heaton Moor, Stockport SK4 4HZ jonmason1@hotmail.co.uk Treasurer: Jillian Taylor cherrymail14@yahoo.co.uk Subscriptions: Jackie Sibthorp Russets, Woodhill Road, Danbury, Essex CM3 4DY jackie@basclub.org.uk Recruitment: Chris Bradford 2 Brackenwood, Ravenstone Road, Camberley, Surrey GU15 1SX bradford294@btinternet.com Annual Dinner Weekend: John Standerline john@standerline.org.uk Club Shop: Richard Dear RDBASC@aol.com

2014: a year of highs and lows

T

HE YEAR started with the thought that Don Valley, the largest athletics stadium in the UK, really had been demolished. As a Sheffield ratepayer I will be paying for a non-existent facility for another 15 years, such is the crazy world of public sector finances. Later in the year it was rumoured that Crystal Palace might cease to have an athletics track. Have these people no sense of history or any feeling for the motivation of young athletes? Crystal Palace was the venue in 1866 for a three-day ‘National Olympic Games’ – the first attempt to go national based on the Much Wenlock Games. Then in 1892 de Coubertin launched the modern Olympic Games and the rest is history. Crowned by the brilliance of London 2012. 2013 was always going to be difficult and it was. However, 2014 showed that young athletes were not only inspired by London 2012, but also worked hard to deliver the superb performances in Glasgow and Zurich. 2015 looks to be an exciting year. The only sporting event we report in this edition of Backtrack is the fine performance in Bulgaria of our cross country

Marc Hope marc.hope@btconnect.com Website: Malcolm Egner malcolm@egner.org.uk Social Media: Eve Langford evelangford@live.co.uk International:

Gemma Steel and Kate Avery were two of the top British athletes in Bulgaria last December

MARK SHEARMAN

There were lots of good performances from British athletes in 2014

Marketing:

teams and we reflect instead on our 2014 award winners as well as a piece of nostalgia about Peter Elliott. Also lots of good memories of our Annual Dinner Weekend with anticipation of it being even better in 2015 – how does John do it? Your club not only brings you Backtrack three times a year, but also makes seven awards to athletes and, more recently, has started giving bursaries to help the bedrock of our sport, coaches and officials. The more observant of you will note that there is no 2015 yearbook. Sadly the cost did not justify the demand for what was, for me at least, a most useful publication. However, do not despair, as our website is being re-launched (more news at the AGM on 21 February) so please be patient. I am fully aware that about 10% of our members do not use the internet so ideas as to how we can service them better are welcomed. Also your club intends to do

Jack Miller jack491miller@btinternet.com

2

MARK SHEARMAN

Sheffield S7 2NG

FROM THE CHAIRMAN

The opinions expressed in articles in Backtrack are solely those of the authors, all of whom are declared, and are not necessarily representative of the policies of BASC Ltd.

more lobbying to try and improve the spectator experience at all major events. In this respect we failed to convince the organisers of Glasgow 2014 that season tickets for hard-core athletics fans were desirable. Nonetheless, we are talking to our sister bodies in Germany and Holland and hope to be able to get the right service for Amsterdam 2016. There are many benefits to come from our nascent discussions, so more views please on what you would like us to achieve. You can make a start by registering your interest in Amsterdam with our travel partners, but if you wish to go under your own steam then let us know. We really do need to know what the level of demand is likely to be. In the coming days we have some excellent indoor events as well as some national cross country events, so much to get out and enjoy. Yours in sport

Philip

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 4

14/01/2015 13:20:33


KATHARINE MERRY’S AUTUMN HIGHLIGHTS

Leave Olympics events alone To even contemplate the removal of some athletics disciplines is unthinkable

L

If events such as the 1500m were to be axed from the Olympics, no athlete would be able to do the double as Kelly Holmes did in 2004

IAAF

Valerie Adams: IAAF female Athlete of the Year

MARK SHEARMAN

AST TIME I spoke to you I was making final preparations for my wedding; the day was perfect. From start to finish it was brilliant, but it was a relief to wake up the next morning with it all having gone so well. It was a very busy build-up, as I gave birth to my daughter in March, so organising a wedding while juggling the need to look after her and a three-year-old and working away for most of the summer kept me very busy, but it was great. In particular it was special to have my friends and family present, including my oldest athletics friends, Linford Christie, Darren Campbell, Iwan Thomas and Ashia Hansen. The next celebration was Christmas and opening presents with the children. My three-yearold would get excited if he was opening a can of fresh air! He is nearly four now so is really into Christmas. I get joy out of his excitement. By contrast, Olivia is only 10 months old and I could wrap an empty crisp packet and she would be delighted! The recent results of the European Cross Country championships mean that all

three women’s teams and the U23 men’s team in particular enjoyed their Christmas festivities. All of the five podium finishes in Samokov genuinely excited me – and that isn’t sitting on the fence! The head-to-head battles that British women have had this year have now transferred into the cross country and this is brilliant. Having said that, the sprint finish between Gemma Steel and Kate Avery was superb! It’s nice that Gemma now has a full set of medals. At the end of the year, there were well-deserved awards for Valerie Adams and Renaud Lavillenie as IAAF athletes of the year; the first time two field event athletes have received these awards. I feel Renaud clipped the title from high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim due to his world record indoors and rightly so, because what a record it was! The great Sergey Bubka’s pole vault record was one of the longest standing marks. I am so pleased that two of the nicest athletes have been recognised. Renaud and Valerie are dominant in their events at

the moment and have to have an off day not to win. Field athletes continue to be overlooked far too much and the track & field world seemed delighted with these awards. Having characters like Renaud and Valerie leading the way in our sport is a good thing. This award came at a time when it was reported that the IOC are considering getting rid of some athletics events from the Olympic programme. The dangers of this are endless and it’s a stupid idea. If they want to cut the numbers of athletes down then there are a number of alternative suggestions, such as planning the timetable better, or higher entry standards if they must. But we manage many world class events in a Diamond League over just a few hours. When I work on the Eugene Diamond League it’s even tighter on time, but still with worldclass, non-stop action. In my opinion the reduction of events at major championships opens up many issues, including the athletes’ worth. I don’t need to explain how stupid it would be

to remove the 200m. It may have been dropped from indoor major championships for obvious reasons due to the tighter bends, but the prospect of Usain Bolt, the sport’s saviour, not being the double champion for a second time? Deary me! No 10,000m would mean no historic, Mo Farah-type doubles with no excitement of an athlete doubling up and going for glory again. No triple jump and we would lose the next Jonathan Edwards delighting us. Not to mention missing out on the big men of the shot battling it out, and walkers being edged out too. Where would it end? After all, the skill-set for certain events cannot always transfer to other events – next they will look at removing the 1500m as it’s too close to the 800m! No more golden Kelly Holmes-esque moments. In this climate of change, the IAAF is about to elect a new chief. The candidates for the job, Lord Coe, Sergey Bubka or perhaps Nawal el Moutawakel all have different qualities, but we must hope that a change is as good as anything. Seb has been there and done it at all levels by winning Olympic gold and being in part largely responsible for putting on a great Olympic Games. It’s not an easy job, of course, and currently we have major doping issues with Russia and Kenya to sort out. These must be tackled and the sport has to have a leader that makes changes and introduces rules that both help the sport and properly punishes the naughty people. I look forward to seeing you as competitors or spectators in 2015! Katharine Merry, BASC patron athlete

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 5

3

14/01/2015 13:20:57


MEMBERS’ NEWS

BASC news and information ... Membership numbers on the rise

Social media BASC is now firing on all social media cylinders! We’re joining in the sporting chat on Twitter, along with all your favourite athletes and coaches. We’re also socialising on Facebook – keeping you up to date with the club’s latest news, offers and photos. To join us, simply follow @BASCsupporters on Twitter and ‘Like’ our British Athletics Supporters Club Facebook page, the page address is: www. facebook.com/britathleticsclub Eve Langford

I WOULD like to welcome all new members to the club (74 new members joined us during 2014) and remind them they are welcome to visit the stand at major UK events, to catch up with fellow members, make suggestions as to the direction BASC should be going in and raise any items of concern they may have, as well as the level of service members wish to see.

Join us for social evenings in Sheffield and Birmingham ON Saturday 14 February, following the indoor meeting at Sheffield, members can meet up and enjoy a meal and social evening together. A room has been reserved for us from 8pm at The Table pub in Arena Square, which is a short walk from the stadium, opposite the stadium in the direction of the M1. The room has a capacity of 36 so if you wish to join us please book your place by emailing me at bradford294@btinternet. com. Places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis so do not delay if you are thinking of joining us. On Saturday 21 February, following the Birmingham indoor meeting, you are invited to join us upstairs at the Malt House pub opposite the stadium, across the canal. A light finger buffet will be provided by the club. Please feel free to come along and chat with club members whilst the crowds thin out. Chris Bradford

Peter White Bursary Scheme 2014 – update THE Bursary scheme for 2014 has been progressing well. At the time of the last Backtrack we

4

Subscriptions

were just starting to publicise the scheme – and we received 15 applications from coaches and officials. The BASC committee reviewed all of these applications in detail at a committee meeting in October and seven of the applicants were deemed as suitable for receiving the award. The applicants were all contacted and they are all extremely happy to receive their awards and have passed on their thanks to the members for their donations. Three of the applicants have been paid out already and the other four are ongoing at present. We have the first story from this year’s applicants in this issue of Backtrack. We are still looking for applicants for this round of awards, and will be reviewing the next batch of applicants at a committee meeting in early 2015. If you, or someone you know, would like to apply for the scheme, then those interested should email info@basclub.org. uk explaining why they should

receive a bursary and what the award would be used for. The selection will be at the discretion of the BASC directors.

RIP – Maureen Pieri IT IS with regret that we announce the passing of Maureen Pieri, who many of you may remember served on the BASC Committee during the 1980s. Eric Thompson, a fellow committee member at the time, remembers her: “Maureen Pieri was an efficient member of our committee and was a pleasure to work with. She was a fun-loving lady and enjoyed following the British athletics team around Europe and the UK. Her particular favourite was Linford Christie and she was of course delighted when he won the Olympic 100m in 1992. May she rest in peace.”

Roger Cressy IT IS with great regret that we announce that Roger Cressy died peacefully on Wednesday 10 December, 2014. He will be missed by his many friends.

I WOULD like to thank everyone who responded to my emails and letters in October and paid their subscriptions on time. If your subscription is still outstanding, you will have received a letter in this Backtrack. If you are not sure about your position, then please contact Jackie at Jackie@basclub.org.uk. I have received over 600 subscriptions by post so far – which is quite a job for the postman, but as well as this, all of the stamps have been recycled and passed on to the local animal

BRITISH ATHLETICS SUPPORTERS CLUB Presidents and Life Members List PRESIDENT Vacant LIFE VICE-PRESIDENTS Mrs Susan Deaves, Jack Miller VICE PRESIDENTS Alan Masters, Marjorie Roscoe, Mark Shearman MBE, Barry Willis OBE, Eric Thompson HONORARY LIFE MEMBERS Graham Botley, Richard Harris ARCHIVIST Richard England

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 6

14/01/2015 13:22:21


..

charity in Essex, Remus, which collects used stamps as part of its fund-raising. Now is the time to set up your standing order for 2015’s subscriptions (due in October). Please contact Jackie for details and the form for completing and sending to your bank (or you can do this yourself if you bank online).

Members at the same address MANY members who share the same address are happy to share a copy of Backtrack, which saves us postage and copying costs. If you currently receive two envelopes, or two Backtracks and would be happy with one, then please let Jackie know at Jackie@ basclub.org.uk.

Members’ updates IF YOU need to update any of your member details (name, address etc) please email Jackie Sibthorp at Jackie@basclub.org.uk with the details. Alternatively, you can write to Jackie at the address shown on page two. Please check the address label in which your issue of Backtrack was delivered to ensure that we have the correct spelling of your address. Don’t forget to let us know if you also change your email address, as we may use this for collecting the subscriptions, ticketing information for events and any last minute news. Jackie Sibthorp

Jo Pavey with John Willets at the BASC Annual Dinner

of athletes who have achieved so much in the last year. In fact, there were votes for 22 different athletes, which was a great reminder of the fantastic summer of athletics we had –

with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow followed so quickly by the European Championships in Zurich. Anyway, the result was very conclusive – the winner was ... Jo Pavey!

News IF YOU have any interesting news or items which you think the BASC members would be interested in, then please let Jackie know, and who knows, you could be in the next edition of Backtrack!

EDITORIAL TEAM Philip Andrew, Jane Ainsworth, Richard Dear, Eve Langford, Rebecca Stearn, Sylvia Willerton, Mike Taylor (production), Mark Shearman MBE (photography)

Athlete of the Year A BIG thank you to everyone who voted for the athlete of the year – well over 400 votes were received and they were for a wide variety

Jo received 58% of the votes, Adam Gemili was second with 11%, Greg Rutherford was third with 9% and our previous winner Mo Farah received 7%. This year we were very fortunate that Jo was able to attend the annual dinner. As the award had been voted for by the members, it was decided that one of the members attending the dinner would have the privilege of presenting the trophy, so we had a draw from all the members present – and the lucky member was John Willets. We also presented the trophy for the Young Male Athlete of the Year. Again, a lucky member drawn at random, David Jones, presented the trophy to Thomas Somers who attended the dinner with his very proud parents.

Thomas Somers is presented with his Young Male Athlete of the Year award by David Jones

Backtrack wish to thank all contributors of articles and photographs

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 7

5

14/01/2015 13:23:52


BASC BURSARIES

Sam’s grateful for BASC bursary

I

’VE ALWAYS been a keen sports person and have been pole vaulting for five years. During this time I have been coached by three different coaches and have been inspired to get involved in coaching myself. I wanted to pass on my coaches’ knowledge, and some of my own, to new young athletes who are keen to get involved in athletics as a sport. To this end I qualified as an athletics leader as soon as I reached 16. I’m keen to become a fully qualified coach. This has meant undertaking the two-day Coaching Assistant training as the next stage in the journey to become a fully qualified coach, followed by the Athletics Coach training … a course run over fourdays in total. It’s an expensive business doing both courses so the bursary from the BASC has been an enormous help . Arriving at the Coaching Assistant course, I wasn’t too sure what to expect and, as an 18-year-old, I was slightly nervous at the prospect of being in a

Sam Bass-Cooper: targeting becoming a fully qualified athletics coach

room with many other older and more experienced individuals, however I had nothing to worry about. Most people on the course were either parents of children involved in the sport or officials, they were all very welcoming with most having little experience in coaching. I found the course very interesting. The knowledge I have

gained from my own coaches has been invaluable, but I still learnt a lot on the course, including some key and important skills regarding instruction and explanation, as well as learning that one of the most important factors about feedback is not always the information you give, but when and how often you give it!

I had always been brought up in a culture of having feedback after every single jump and knew no other way of coaching, but now I know this is not always the best option for all athletes and I will certainly implement this into my coaching style. I took a short sprints session at the end of the course and another thing I learned was that athletes of all ages and abilities love competition, so to keep everyone engaged and enjoying themselves, adding a competitive edge to each session is always good! I am currently in the process of completing my full Athletics Coach training. I have done the first two days and have two more days to go. From there I am looking to complete the pole vault-specific module and I have already set up a group of vaulters, jumpers and sprinters at my old secondary school who I will be coaching throughout the summer of 2015. Thank you to the BASC for the support! Sam Bass-Cooper

Support continues for Vault Britain series FOLLOWING the great success of its inaugural year, BASC is pleased to confirm the renewal of its support for the Vault Britain series in 2015. The Vault Britain series comprises three events over the course of the 2015 indoor season. The series opens with Vault Cardiff on January 18 before moving to the Etihad Complex for Vault Manchester on January 31 and culminating with Vault London on 22 February. Pole vaulting is one of the real success stories in British athletics, with good grassroots participation over all age groups and good success on the international stage, and medals being won at senior and age group levels.

6

Already this season, Adam Hague has set an all-time indoor world youth

(under-18) best of 5.46m at the Etihad Complex.

As at mid-December 2014, entries for Vault Cardiff and Vault Manchester had already closed as both were greatly over-subscribed. This is despite there being nine competitions held over the course of the day on three separate vaulting beds in Manchester. BASC will again support the prizes for the under-20 age group. In order to qualify, athletes must compete at two of the three qualifying events. Details and results of last year’s event can be found at www.vaultbritain.com. If you are local to any of the events, your support would be welcomed! Jon Mason

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 8

14/01/2015 13:27:33


BASC BURSARIES

Work and progress in east London

I

N October 2014 I applied for funding through the BASC’s Peter White Bursary Scheme to complete the Endurance Event Group Athletics Qualification. I have been gradually working through the online modules, many of which have been very useful when applied to my coaching and planning. Since starting university in September 2013, studying BSc Sports Coaching, I have been involved in coaching athletics within a range of groups, ages and abilities. I had been involved within athletics as an athlete and coach for nearly six years prior to university. I began coaching within my

university (University of East London), and Newham and Essex Beagles (UEL Partner Club). Coaching adults for the first time was initially a challenge, however this became easier with time. The enhanced knowledge gained from the Endurance Event Group Qualification has significantly helped. From November 2013 I have also been coaching a group at Willesden Track Academy, a mentoring, education and athletics programme. The age range within the group is 11-16, with an equally varied ability range, proving a challenge to cater for all. Since starting over a year ago, the group

has developed significantly, moving away from event group specialisation, to now all younger athletes taking part in all components of run, jump, throw. More recently, with the addition of new coaches, I have been able to take more individual sessions. The course has been most helpful for this, providing the knowledge required to effectively progress Young Endurance Athletes. I have also found several components can be transferred to coaching other events. With improved confidence and knowledge since starting the course, I have also set up a new England Athletics run group within East London. Newham and

Essex Beagles have also asked if I am able to lead an Endurance group for adults, due to start in January 2015. For both of these, this course has so far proved very helpful. This last year I have also been involved as a member, and recently selected as chairperson, of the Athletics Youth Advisory Group, which is a home country consultation group which aims to represent young people within athletics in the UK. Ultimately by members improving their knowledge within coaching, officiating, etc we, as a group, are better able to represent young people within the sport. Jacob Hood

Get active at the weekend with parkrun

H

AVE you heard of parkrun? Every Saturday at 9am up to 50,000 people across the UK take part in a timed 5km run around their local park, with the help of a band of local volunteers (who run on other weeks) who make it all possible. It is an amazing spectacle to see so many athletes of all abilities running round the parks. The run also includes dogs, pushchairs and children (under11s have to be accompanied by an adult). I have been running at the Chelmsford parkrun since March 2014 and have now completed over 30 runs. Once I get to 50 I will get a commemorative T-shirt. I started running the 5km in about 35 minutes and I am now down to below 28 minutes – so it just shows what you can do! But it is not just for keen runners – if you are lucky you can catch a current athlete taking part, or you may even be

watching a star of the future. Some of the kids who run at parkrun are amazing. They are very fast – many under 20 minutes – and they never seem to be out of breath and just have bags of energy. More recently, as some of you who were at the annual dinner may recall, Jenny Meadows and her training team completed the Ormskirk parkrun on the morning of the dinner. Other notable parkrunners are Andy Baddeley, Jake Wightman, Jonathan Brownlee, Laura Weightman and Adam Hickey. So next time you are out in the local park on a Saturday morning – take a look around you – you never know who may be running past! Take a look at the parkrun website (www. parkrun.org.uk) for details of the 299 events (and counting), and see which one takes place near you. Jackie Sibthorpe

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 9

7

14/01/2015 13:28:29


BASC ANNUAL DINNER 2014

Dinner weekend is a big hit

B

ASC’S ANNUAL DINNER aims to give members a chance to meet other members in a relaxed environment and enable them to meet current and former athletes. This was achieved to general approval in November last year with 134 members and guests present at the main dinner and with around 50 members enjoying a meal on the Friday night. The weekend started with a talk during Friday’s dinner by Niels de Vos, CEO of UK Athletics. Whilst his main topic was the future of athletics in the Olympic Stadium, many questions from members explored all aspects of the administration of athletics in the UK. Isobel Pooley wrote in her blog that she “... had the pleasure of sitting next to Niels (for the dinner) and quizzed him for most of the meal, trying to get some insight into his vision for our sport”. Members’ questions were easier for Niels to answer. Saturday afternoon saw two panel sessions. The first, chaired by David Moorcroft, comprised Richard Whitehead MBE, Hannah Cockroft MBE and Ian Byers. David ably explored the athletics careers of the first IPC

Isobel Pooley and UKA CEO Niels de Vos listen on as BASC chairman Philip Andrew speaks

athletes to attend a BASC dinner and discussed ‘Seventeen’, the new business being set up by Hannah Cockcroft and Ian Byers to represent athletes (both able bodied and IPC). The courage and commitment of both athletes were brought out during the session and members were very impressed with how they presented themselves. BASC’s long-time friend Peter Matthews took over for the second session which saw the now retired BASC favourite Donna Fraser, Isobel Pooley,

Isobel Pooley, Jenny Meadows and Hayley Jones with interviewer Peter Matthews

8

Jenny Meadows, Hayley Jones and Jenny’s husband, Trevor Painter, on the panel. Before inviting questions from members, Peter discussed the panel members’ highs and lows of the last year. Peter Matthews also acted as interviewer during the dinner where, in addition to those athletes who were in the panel sessions, he also talked to Jo Pavey, Robbie Grabarz, Thomas Somers and Bill Adcocks. As has become customary, the evening ended with a raffle

to raise money for the club’s chosen charity, the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund. Just over £1200 was raised on the night and the club’s committee agreed to add to this, sending £1500 to the charity. Reaching this sum was aided by generous athletics packages from the club’s travel partners, Track and Field Tours and Claridon, as well as signed vests from many high-profile athletes donated by UKA. UK high jump champion Isobel Pooley said after the dinner: “A

Q&A time saw Hannah Cockroft and Richard Whitehead with David Moorcroft

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 10

14/01/2015 13:29:30


Peter Matthews and David Moorcroft share a joke

Bill Adcocks

Isobel Pooley

big thank you for your generous hospitality this weekend. I had a really lovely time and have come away feeling buoyed up with enthusiasm for my training and the seasons ahead! I’m so glad that the supporters enjoyed meeting me and that you approve of my little blog. The immense and tireless support of members means a lot to us British athletes and I hope that it will continue to thrive in years to come!” Also after the dinner, members Linda Baylis and Sue Heptinstall wrote: “It was lovely to see so many current athletes at the dinner and having Hannah Cockcroft and Ian Byers at our table was a real bonus. They were both interesting to chat to and there was a good banter around our table throughout the Richard Whitehead

Information on the 2015 dinner is included with this issue of Backtrack. An early booking discount will see prices held again. The 2015 event will again see a speaker on the Friday evening and a new feature will be a ‘members lounge’ on the Saturday morning in the area where the dinner is held. With facilities to order drinks and refreshments, we hope that this will provide an area for members to relax and chat in comfort. John Standerline meal. Throughout the evening, questions to Hannah were never ending and she didn’t seem to mind answering them. Ian also was generous and answered at length. Both were a delight and have a wonderful sense of humour. We were so lucky to have them on our table.” Sunday morning saw Peter Matthews also acting as interviewer for the ‘last athletes standing’, Bill Adcocks and Donna Fraser, who entertained members with anecdotes about their careers, the session ending in ‘fits’ of laughter. Members were complimentary about how they enjoyed the weekend and were particularly pleased with the range and number of guests that accepted invitations.

David Barnett of Track & Field Tours with prize winner Sheila Bywaters

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 11

9

14/01/2015 13:29:57


NOSTALGIA

Elliott lifts winter blues

10

PICTURES: MARK SHEARMAN

T

HERE’S no better cure for the winter blues than a Commonwealth Games held Down Under. Just seeing those blue skies on the television is enough to remind us that summer really does exist and will return. When an athlete from one of the home nations wins gold, the sense of well-being is well and truly restored. This was the case 25 years ago when a gritty Yorkshireman took the 1500m Commonwealth crown. Rotherham’s Peter Elliott had always run in the shadow of Britain’s all-conquering middle distance triumvirate of Seb Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram. But, in Auckland, Elliott had the chance to top the rostrum at a major championships. The glut of great British runners had even led to two Olympic selection controversies. Elliott had beaten Coe in the 1984 AAA Championships but the latter was selected to defend his 1500m Olympic crown. Of course, Seb Coe went on to thoroughly vindicate the selectors’ decision by winning gold at the Los Angeles Games. However, Elliott would have walked into any other country’s team. By the time of the 1988 Seoul Olympics the situation had been reversed. Elliott was chosen instead of Coe, despite a strong media campaign supporting the Olympic champion. Neither did Elliott let down the selectors’ trust as he gained a deserved silver medal behind Kenya’s Peter Rono in the 1500m. As the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games approached, Seb Coe was now 33 and reaching the end of his illustrious athletics career. New Zealand’s John Walker was five years older and also about to retire. For his part, Elliott had only secured selection after Steve

Peter Elliott won the AAA 1500m from Seb Coe in 1984 but Coe still went to Los Angeles

Cram had withdrawn from a trial race through injury. Yet by January 1990 Elliott was in tremendous form. When asked if he had ever felt fitter he replied: “No, prior to these Championships I’ve done some of the best training sessions I’ve ever done.” This work paid off in two impressive warm-up races in New Zealand. On January 17 in Hamilton he beat Peter Snell’s New Zealand all-comers’ record for 1000m, clocking

2:16.30. Soon afterwards, he won a 1500m race in Auckland, recording 3.36.76. Elliott was always more of a ‘tough of the track’ character than Coe. He had become a world class athlete in the 1980s despite holding down a full-time job as a joiner with British Steel. By 1988 he had reduced his hours but training still had to fit around work. Considering his down-toearth background, perhaps it’s not surprising that he took his mind off the big race by building

a fence whilst staying with friends in Auckland! Sadly, the long-awaited dual with Seb Coe would not take place. Coe had looked drawn and tired in the 800m final, finishing sixth. He then failed to appear for his 1500m heat and so the curtain had finally come down on this truly great athlete’s track career. But as the runners lined up on a beautifully sunny and warm early February day at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium, there

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 12

14/01/2015 13:30:23


were plenty of other rivals to challenge Elliott. They included the crowd’s favourite, the veteran ex-Olympic champion John Walker. Also on the line was his compatriot Peter O’Donoghue. The tall and ungainly figure of Australian Pat Scammell, who had a reputation for causing mayhem in close fields with his untidy running, also provided a menacing presence. Two impressive Kenyans would surely be challenging for medals – William Tanui and Wilfred Kirochi were among the favourites. Nor could Elliott’s English team-mate Tony Morrell be discounted. It was a field worthy of a royal presence. As the runners prepared for the gun, Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh sat forward in their seats ready to enjoy a fine race. Straight from the start, Tanui took up the running and soon opened a gap of a few yards as Elliott slipped into second place to await developments. Tanui kept up a brisk pace, completing the first circuit in 55.62. It was just the Peter Elliott with his Commonwealth 1500m gold medal from Auckland in 1990

INTERNATIONAL LINKS

Hope for the future

In the Olympic 1500m final in Seoul in 1988, Elliott took the silver

fast race Elliott wanted. Tanui continued to oblige, reaching the two-lap mark in 1:56. But Elliott was looking strong and moved onto Tanui’s shoulder, as if bursting to lead. Then behind the two leaders, disaster struck for Walker, as with 600m remaining he was sent tumbling to the track after a collision with Scammell and although he got up to continue, was now well out of contention.

Elliott made a decisive break about 40 metres from the bell and the two Kenyans followed in his wake. Round into the back straight it was Kirochi who was the main challenger. At one point it looked as if the Kenyan would cling on but Elliott kicked again and led into the final straight. Showing great strength and determination the Yorkshireman powered on alone towards the tape. His winning time was an impressive 3.33.39. Kirochi came second with Kiwi Pat O’Donoghue pleasing the crowd with a surprise bronze medal. After enjoying a brief moment of elation, Elliott went back to see John Walker, insisting that the New Zealander accompany him on his lap of honour. It was a gesture typical of the self-effacing and popular Yorkshireman. Needless to say, it was also a gesture much appreciated by the crowd. Peter Elliott had finally emerged from the shadow of his fellow British stars. He had defeated a world class field in a major championships and recorded a fast time in the process. It was certainly a performance to lift the winter blues in his homeland. Colin Allan

MARC HOPE has been involved with athletics for many years, including working closely with Alan Pascoe and Jon Ridgeon at FastTrack, driving the commercial programme for UKA. Marc also led on raising record National Sponsor revenue for four International Athletics Championships staged in the UK – the World and European Indoors in Birmingham in 2003 and 2007 and the European and World Cross Country in Edinburgh in 2003 and 2008, liaising closely with the IAAF and European Athletics throughout. Since January 2011 Marc has been working at SMAM (Sports Marketing and Management) driving the vital sponsorship for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, embedded in the Organising Committee. Marc is also Vice Chairman of London Youth Games and served as a Non Executive board member for GB Taekwondo through their successful Olympic campaign from 2010 to 2013. Marc will be contesting the Central Ayrshire seat in next May’s General Election.

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 13

Marc Hope

11

14/01/2015 13:31:08


ATHLETE PROFILES

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: long jump silver in Sopot

12

PICTURES: MARK SHEARMAN

K

ATARINA JOHNSONTHOMPSON, affectionately known as Kat, was born in Liverpool, on January 9, 1993 and attended St. Julie’s Catholic High School in Woolton. After completing secondary education, she was offered a place on the Sports Science Degree course at John Moore University but, after attending for a short time, she decided to defer indefinitely and concentrate on athletics. Mike Holmes is her coach and she receives funding from the Wells Sports Foundation. As a child she had been a bit of a tomboy and although her mother Tracy had been a dancer, Kat showed little interest in that, much preferring football. She discovered her talent for athletics at primary school, when a teacher asked her to try the high jump because she was the tallest in the group. This was the start of a new passion – and Liverpool LFC’s potential loss was Liverpool Harriers’ gain! Kat’s eagerness to try new activities led to her interest in the heptathlon. In May 2009 at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Bressanone, she announced her intentions by producing PBs in five disciplines to claim the heptathlon gold medal. 2012 saw the start of her meteoric rise through the rankings – at the World Junior Championship in Barcelona she won gold in the

Katarina JohnsonThompson: looking forward to a productive 2015 after last year was ruined through injury

A real Hep Kat long jump with a jump of 6.81m; in May she broke the British junior record, held by Jessica Ennis-Hill, at the Multistars event in Desenzano del Garda with a PB of 6007 points and in Kladno she recorded 6248, so surpassing the Olympic A standard by almost 100 points. Having earned her place in the London Olympics, she improved her PB again to finished 15th with a score of 6267 points. Awards and nominations reflected her remarkable year, included winning the ‘Lillian Board Memorial Award’ (for junior women) from the British Athletics Writers Association and nomination for European Athletics Rising Star Award. The winning momentum continued in 2013, when Kat added the heptathlon title at the European U23 Championships in Tampere. This was followed by her first Diamond League

competition at the London Anniversary Games where she out-jumped a field of top long jump specialists. In Moscow, with a splendid performance, she finished fifth in her debut at the IAAF World Championships. In February 2014, Kat seemed on a roll. At her first senior indoor championship in Sheffield she won both the long jump and the high jump, the latter with 1.96m, breaking the national record held by Debbie Marti since 1997. At the World Indoor Championships in Sopot, she secured silver in the long jump. The highlight of the year was her outstanding performance at the prestigious multi-events meeting in Gotzis, winning the heptathlon with a world-leading score of 6682 points. Soon after becoming national champion in the long jump at the Glasgow Grand Prix at the start of July, Kat sustained a stress fracture

in her left foot during training. This resulted in her missing out on both the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the European Championships. Now it’s all systems go, with the ultimate goal being the World Championships in Beijing. The gruelling nature of combined events means that training has to encompass many facets. Kat typically trains four days a week to ensure she gets the necessary rest and recovery, but each session can last up to four hours and include five components. When she is not training, she sometimes takes her dachshund Chorizo (it’s a sausage dog!) along Crosby Beach, watched by the silent audience of Antony Gormley’s cast iron figures. Rest assured BASC members will be far from silent when supporting Kat in the coming season. Sylvia Willerton

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 14

14/01/2015 13:31:34


t

14 ... the magic number!

2

014 WAS AN amazing year for 14-year-old Maria Lyle, who achieved two world records and two gold medals in the IPC European Championships. Maria was born in Dunbar in East Lothian and attends Dunbar Grammar School. Previously she had been a pupil at Dunbar Primary School, where her mother Susan taught PE. At the age of two she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and needed splints to help her to walk. Initially her tight muscles had made sport difficult but by P6 (Primary Level two) the splints were restricting her progress and were removed. Through determination, exercise and running she has managed to improve her mobility. Maria loves to run and at the age of 10 joined the local running club, where she not only kept up with the other runners but beat many of them as well. She was so good that often her disability went undetected and she began competing in able-bodied events before receiving classification in disability athletics. When Maria was 12 she was running the 200m in a faster time than the Paralympic gold medallist at London 2012. Last season she regularly beat world status Maria Lyle: Paralympics in 2016 is the goal

Maria Lyle: has been running since she was 10

for both the 100m and 200m in her category but the records could not be ratified without international classification and at only 13 she was too young to compete at the IPC Athletics Championships in Lyon in July. In the IPC Athletics Grand Prix event in Dubai in February last year, Maria’s first race since receiving international classification, she beat the world record of 32.27 for the T35 200m, held by Ping Lui of China since 2005, with a superb run of 31.01. What a debut! Then she went on to achieve her second world record of 2014 at May’s Loughborough International, where she went almost a second faster than the previous best in the T35 100m, finishing in 14.83. Later that month she improved this with a 14.63 run at the Bedford International Games. The following month she took the T35 100m and 200m gold medals at the England Athletics Senior Disability Championships in Birmingham. August brought another triumph for Maria at the IPC European Championships in Swansea where she excelled by winning two gold medals in the

T35 100m and 200m, beating a number of top athletes, including Italian world champion Oxana Corso. Not surprisingly she was awarded the IPC Allianz Athlete of the Month, in the Best Youngster for August category and was short-listed for the SportsAid: One to Watch award. Her coach Tabo Huntley is based on Merseyside, which involves considerable travelling and commitment from Maria and the Lyle support team of mum, dad and sister Anna. Additional support comes from the RBS Local Heroes Award Fund and the British Futures programme. Her hero is Usain Bolt, not just because of his dynamic speed but also his personality and the way he enjoys himself before, during and after a race. Maria certainly appears to be emulating these qualities. She enjoys setting goals and challenges for herself, knowing she has a purpose and feeling rewarded for the effort and hard work. Her aims include competing in the IPC World Championships in 2015 at the age of 15 and the Paralympic Games in 2016 when she will be 16 – so 15 and 16 could be her magic numbers by then! Sylvia Willerton

Richard Dear RICHARD has been following athletics for many years and as a teenager went to Crystal Palace several times and watched greats such as David Bedford, Brendan Foster and Geoff Capes. He rekindled his sporting activity in 1992, aged 40, and started to enter road races. Since 1994 he has competed in 24 marathons and innumerable half marathons and 10kms. His wife, fed up with waiting around at all the events he entered, decided to start running herself with her first marathon being in 2009 and she is now a keen runner as well.

To balance this activity Richard is very keen on “fine wine and dining” and most of their holidays involve running and/or vineyards! Richard is also very keen on taking photographs – some of which have been displayed on the BASC stand. Richard worked for a major UK bank, the last 14 years as an events manager, until taking early retirement 10 years ago, He now works parttime as financial controller for a family manufacturing business. Richard has been on the committee for 18 months, is responsible for BASC merchandise and is one of the proof readers for Backtrack.

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 15

13

14/01/2015 13:32:04


BACKTRACK PRODUCTION

How does Backtrack happen?

E

VER wondered how you receive your copy of Backtrack so promptly? It’s all done by the voluntary work of a number of club members – it truly is an inhouse magazine! The whole process starts with the content, design and cajoling of the volunteer writers to meet the set deadline. The editor then does a pagination to ensure each page has the right number of words to go with the pictures to give the correct balance. Subbing and layout work is done by Athletics Weekly’s Mike Taylor who also draws on the extensive photo library of Mark Shearman. The proofs are read by two members, corrections are completed and the final files are sent to the printers ...

Production of labelled envelopes In preparation for the despatch of Backtrack, address labels are produced by Jackie Sibthorp and stuck on to each A4 envelope. We send out about 1400 envelopes – and there are 21 labels per sheet – which is nearly 70 sheets of labels to be printed. The addresses are extracted from the BASC database and prior to printing, the labels are sorted into ‘Standard’, ‘Families’, ‘Couples’,

Production central: Jackie Sibthorp, husband Alan and Chris Bradford

‘Overseas’ and ‘VIP’ – as these are all treated differently when it comes to inserting the issues of Backtrack and the actual despatch. Once the labels are all printed they need to be stuck onto the envelopes, requiring several evenings in front of the television to complete! The other aspect of the labelling is that when we send a letter with Backtrack (eg for subscription collection or for our VIPs), we use a window envelope (which doesn’t have a label) – we need to ensure the address on the letter lines up with the window of the envelope! Once all this is completed, we then take the boxes of pre-prepared envelopes to Birmingham ready to start the next process ...

UKA for the use of a room at their offices at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. As they kindly allow us to use (at cost) their postage franking machine, (which enables us to keep the postage costs to a minimum) they ensure sufficient credit is added to our account held on the machine and, importantly, check we have available some 15 postage sacks to be picked up by the Royal Mail.

Collation and despatch

Jackie ensures the labels are produced in preparation for the later ‘stuffing’

14

Once a date has been agreed for the production and collation of accompanying inserts, arrangements are made with

Jean franks the 1400 envelopes, thanks to UKA’s state-of-the-art equipment

A 9.30pm start by club members Chris and Jean Bradford and Jackie and Alan Sibthorp and occasionally your chairman Philip, ensures the ‘stuffing’ and franking of envelopes is completed with efficiency. A production line of Chris, Jackie and Alan insert your copy of Backtrack, together with the chairman’s letter and flyers from Track & Field Tours and Claridon, into the addressed envelopes which are then taken to the franking room. Jean then ensures all envelopes are franked and, importantly, keeps track of the total postage cost, which is later charged to the club. Envelopes have to be batched in quantities of 20 for ease of use by Royal Mail and placed in postal sacks (making sure they are not too heavy to handle) and then taken downstairs for collection by 2.30pm to catch the pick up by Royal Mail. Chris Bradford & Jackie Sibthorp

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 16

14/01/2015 13:33:29


TRAVEL COMPANY INFORMATION

You’re travelling in experienced hands personal service and security in all senses for your peace of mind. With so many regular clients, travelling events are like a reunion of friends and it is easy to make new ones, which is good for single travellers – men and women’s numbers are well balanced too – a positive aspect not so common on general sports tours. Families travel too, of course. At the major events unique T&FT extras are included as standard within arrangements. Event athletics guide: athlete rankings and form guide, event timetable, multi-event scoring tables & field event scoring cards in a handy A5 booklet. Daily newsletter: at breakfast read about events you saw the previous evening and previews of the day to come. Client stories,

MARK SHEARMAN

TRACK & FIELD TOURS has made arrangements for fans to attend athletics events worldwide since 1991 and handles BASC ticketing/packages to all British events. Prospective new travellers will be handled by David Barnett who has over 30 years in athletics travel and is supported by experienced staff in Lee, Lindsay and Claire who each have 10-15 years in the industry. Fans are offered a wide selection of options for accommodation, travel, event tickets and add-on tours plus the flexibility of tailor-made packages. All packages are financially bonded and at the major events the office staff will also be managing and sharing the event experience – old fashioned

useful information and quizzes also add to fan’s enjoyment of an event – a unique and much loved service.

Event parties/dinners: at Glasgow 2014, over 20 England team members attended a lunch in a prestigious venue. Over the years athletes such as Michael Johnson, Cathy Freeman, Mike Powell and UK stars, such as Denise Lewis, Daley Thompson and Kelly Holmes have attended events that have been exclusive to T&FT clients. Event branded GB supporters polo shirts are also available at championship events. So, whether your supporting interest ranges from patriotic flag waver to athletic statistician you can be sure you’ll receive a service designed by genuine fans of athletics for you to enjoy yourself to enable you to follow the sport that we all love. David Barnett

Total enjoyment of your trip is our target MARK SHEARMAN

WATCHING live sport and cheering on your favourite athletes with like-minded people is an experience we all love and a main reason many of us travel the world time and again and are proud to be part of the club as a visible presence in every stadium. The total enjoyment for every person on every trip is our absolute goal and we strive to make your experience as sociable, friendly, easy, informative and fun as possible. We understand there are many different tastes and budgets and many of the destinations we are lucky to visit offer a wide choice of tourist attractions, add-ons and city trips and this is why we have this promise to you. At every event we offer a wide choice of seating at cost price to suit all budgets. We will always stay central to the city we are

visiting, with an eye on easy transfers to the stadium, making the best of both worlds in terms of culture, sport, entertainment and the sociable side of every trip to avoid any unnecessary travel at a time that suits you. When you travel with us you do so in confidence. We are ATOL, IATA and ABTA secure and your full trip is covered. There are no hidden or extra costs as all is covered, including transfers and meet and greets and with our ATOL relationship we are

able to book and hold flights at excellent terms directly with different airlines to help you. We often have one or two main guaranteed groups, again to help you with budgets and costings with flexible payment terms. We are open and keen to help with every facet and no problem is too big or small including deviations away from the itinerary or specific seating requests. We are extremely proud of all the positive feedback we get

and the many friendships we have seen blossom and are also extremely delighted to see so many regular faces every year. We look forward to seeing many more supporters in 2015 for another exciting year of athletics. We enjoy the sport first and foremost and the sociable side in the evenings secondly – new friends together enjoying a drink in small groups digesting the day’s events or at a closing party where everyone is welcome. We are always available 24 hours a day to deal with every request. This year is the 20th year I will have been involved in sports tours and it is now 15 years since I travelled to Sydney as an athletics fan to enjoy the Olympic Games with so many other Brits. We look forward to seeing and helping many of you in the coming weeks and months. Ben and the team

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 17

15

14/01/2015 13:34:07


EUROPEAN CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS, SAMOKOV, DECEMBER 14

Success in Samokov for GB PICTURES: MARK SHEARMAN

T

HE 2014 edition of the European Cross Country Championships continued the recent trend of heading further and further east, with the associated cold weather, by heading to a ski resort in Bulgaria – not a country steeped in cross country history, but we’re getting used to that now. After an early start, and flights out of Heathrow and Gatwick, a group consisting of enthusiastic supporters and athletes’ families arrived in Borovets, a small town some 90-minutes drive from Sofia. Our hotel was functional rather than luxurious with underfloor heating that didn’t seem to be linked to the room thermostat, resulting in your own personal sauna and the need to sleep with the window open when it was sub-zero outside. Using my bathroom was also an interesting experience as nothing seemed to be securely screwed down, so care had to be taken when using the shower and toilet for fear that they would come adrift! An advantage of our hotel was that it was opposite the athletes one, so it was easy for parents to visit their offspring, and it acted as a good meeting place, although there were some who didn’t think it particularly cool to have mum and dad there!

Rhona Auckland: unexpected U23 winner

Gemma Steel and Kate Avery battling it out

Borovets actually worked very well as a venue for the Championships with plenty of hotels and some very good, and cheap, bars and restaurants, all of which were very close together. Of course, we had to try out many of these establishments, sometimes more than once, which took a lot of stamina but it contributed to a very good weekend and I feel that we did the club proud and helped further Anglo-Bulgarian relations. Saturday started with the traditional visit to the course and we were greeted with a frozen and deeply rutted track that

claimed one British casualty even before the races had begun, with Elliot Bowker twisting his ankle. Despite overnight treatment he had to drop out during his race which was a shame, especially as his father was there to watch. Numerous complaints from team managements resulted in the course being altered and shortened for the following day’s races which, along with the application of copious amounts of sand, made it more usable. After the course inspection many of us took the 25-minute ride up the local Gondola to the top of the ski slopes. The ride

was not for the faint-hearted as it seemed to be going almost vertical at times, but the view at the top was stunning. Sitting in the sun drinking a mulled wine (or two) was a nice way to spend the afternoon and to prepare to visit more hostelries in the evening (there’s a trend developing here). Sunday arrived accompanied by more bright sunshine and we were treated to another dominating display by a very young British squad, as they topped the medal table for the seventh year in a row, followed by the Russians (the less said about them the better) and a Turkish team bolstered by several mail-order Kenyans.

Senior GB silver: Callum Hawkins, Charlie Hulson, Jonathan Davies, Jonny Hay, Marc Scott and Will Gray

Excellent performances saw the British women take the senior team gold in Bulgaria: Lily Partridge, Sonia Samuels, Kate Avery, Gemma Steel, Steph Twell and Elle Vernon

16

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 18

14/01/2015 13:34:37


NATIONAL UNION OF TRACK STATISTICIANS

B

The NUTS – still going strong with history as their focus Jonny Hay: good run for U23 fourth

The stars of the show were Gemma Steel and Kate Avery, who destroyed the opposition in a brilliant display of front running, and a very happy Rhona Auckland who was a surprise U23 champion. Additional gold medals for the senior and junior women’s teams, several other silver and bronze medals and some very good performance by new, and returning, athletes made for a very happy group of athletes and supporters that evening and on the journey home the next morning. We all had an excellent weekend, making many new friends and thanks must go to Ben and Graham at Claridon for arranging everything. Next year we head back west to the south coast of France, which promises to be warmer and hopefully, as enjoyable and successful. Neil Munro

MARK SHEARMAN

T

HE National Union of Track Statisticians (universally known as the NUTS) has for more than 50 years provided sterling service to British athletics, competitors, the media and spectators in the collection and dissemination of track and field statistics. Founded in 1958, when there was only limited collation of performances up and down the country, the NUTS continue to publish annual top 100 lists for UK athletes in each of the standard track and field and road events with shorter lists for junior age group athletes. Records, all-time lists and NUTS chairman Peter Matthews’s annual UK merit rankings are also included in the British Athletics Annual. Of course deep current performance lists are published online nowadays – through the Powerof10 and topsinathletics websites – and UK and international results are much more readily accessible through the internet, but the NUTS continues to have a vital role to play in the 21st century – and regards the production of the British Athletics Annual as essential to provide the permanent, definitive record of what has happened each year. NUTS members continue to provide commentary and information to both stadium announcers and TV commentators at many British and international meetings. Nonetheless, the NUTS is increasingly focused on historical research as our sport was very poorly documented in its early days, with members producing a series of event booklets covering in depth histories of the development and progression of many track

Peter Matthews: NUTS chairman

and field events in the UK, as well as specific research into, for instance, the AAA Championships, British performances at the Olympics and reconstructed historic UK ranking lists for the 1930s and for 1946-1952. The most recent specialist booklet, published in 2014, has been about the walks, events in which Britain has a long and distinguished history. For many years now the house journal Track Stats, edited by Bob Phillips, has been published four times a year with occasional “specials”. Track Stats has included biographical and statistics features on many famous champions of the past and present from Britain and overseas, such as Mary Slaney, Katarina JohnsonThompson, Martin Lauer, Ian Boyd, Paula Radcliffe and Wyndham Halswelle in the 2014 publications alone – but also many less-heralded athletes with their own fascinating stories. A 2014 Commonwealth Games Special had a specific Scotland focus, including a lot of new material on Hampden Park’s previous history as an athletics venue, and the story of Joe McGhee, the winner of the famous marathon at the 1954

Empire Games, which Jim Peters led for so long before collapsing near the finish. Members of the NUTS have written or contributed to many books in recent years including, in 2014, works on Irish and Scottish athletics, Pedestrianism (19th century foot races) and deep early 20th century women’s world lists. Forthcoming projects with which members are engaged include work on the major collection of athletics publications and personal papers that have been donated to the NUTS over the years, and producing further lists (1866-1880, the War years, the 1920s and the 1950s) and other historical and bibliographic research. This collection is housed, courtesy of the Headmaster, at Cobham School in Kent. It is easily the most comprehensive collection of athletics material in the country and the NUTS urgently need volunteers to help in arranging and cataloguing the collection, which is under the aegis of the Sports Archive Foundation. The NUTS will be very pleased to hear from BASC members about their interests in British athletics history, or in statistical research, annual trends, etc and to help at Cobham School. BASC members may also know of athletics archives around the country, for example those of clubs or regional associations, and the NUTS would be interested to know of them. Further information on the NUTS, including membership details, information on Track Stats and other publications, is available on their website: www.nuts.org.uk Ian Tempest (NUTS member since 1984)

Gemma Steel: had to battle for the gold

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 19

17

14/01/2015 13:36:07


ATHLETE PROFILE

David’s future looks bright

F

UTURE Olympic medallist’: this phrase seems to be the general consensus used by coaches and track and field experts when discussing the young, Welsh 110m hurdler, David Omoregie. David has had an incredible year, not only collecting a bronze at the World Junior Championships in Oregon back in June (his first major event) but also picking up accolades including the BASC Ron Jewkes Award (see opposite) and the British Athletics Writers Award for Junior Male Athlete of the Year. When qualifying for the semifinal in Oregon, David achieved a PB of 13.24 when running the third fastest time in the championships’ history, which led to comparisons with former world record-holder and Welsh legend Colin Jackson. David elegantly responded by saying: “It’s really cool to be compared to Colin but I’m young and want to create my own career and legacy.” Born on November 1, 1995 David says the hype around him doesn’t affect him too much. Being young he just wants to perform to the best of his ability, drowning out comparisons,

David Omoregie: looking forward to a promising 2015

speculations and criticism. At the tender age of 18 it’s good to see a level-headed young athlete who wants to win medals. David recently made the switch from decathlon to the hurdles as he and his coach felt he would have greater success and more chance of winning championships focusing on one event. Despite being a multi-eventer MARK SHEARMAN

David Omoregie picked up the BAWA Junior Male Athlete of the Year award for 2014

18

since his introduction to athletics back when he was in Year 7 at school, little niggles and injuries also played a part in dictating what would be his next step forward. “I made the decision last year and now I just want to run as quickly as I possibly can.” David is so young that there’s quite a lot of flexibility for introducing a different approach to his style – he recently ran in the 60m hurdles at the Cardiff Indoor Grand Prix experimenting with a seven-stride opening as opposed to his usual eight strides. From speaking to David it is clear he was knowledgeable about the principles of training and what it takes to perform optimally. David has quite a structured training programme, starting his season in September after a break in August. Regardless of a brilliant programme, he also described the importance of time spent with a sports psychologist from SportWales.

Although each session is different, David told me he was working on breathing techniques to lower his blood pressure and to allow him to maintain his calm character during races. As well as competing at championships around the world and being heavily tipped to win medals in the future, David is a student at Cardiff University. When asked about the balancing of an Accounting and Finance degree with having to train as an athlete, he said: “When I first came to University, it wasn’t so much the amount of work but the content and actual work load which made it difficult to balance both. It means my time management skills have improved and I am using spare time wisely.” David competed in midJanuary at the Cardiff Grand Prix with the hope of performing well for the European indoor trials later in the month. Make sure you watch out for him this year! Ryan Williams

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 20

14/01/2015 13:36:32


BASC AWARDS 2014 PICTURES: MARK SHEARMAN

E

ACH YEAR, BASC makes a number of awards to senior and junior athletes as well as athletes with a disability, full details of which can be found in the 2014 year book. The awards for the 2014 season have been decided and presentations are in the course of being made.

Thomas Somers Morgan Lake

Ron Jewkes Trophy This year’s Ron Jewkes Trophy is awarded to David Omoregie for his run of 13.17 when winning the 110m hurdles at the England Athletics under-20 and under-23 Championships in Bedford. The Cardiff AC athlete backed up that performance with a bronze medal at the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon and set a PB two days later at the same venue over the senior barriers when clocking 13.53 at the Run TrackTown High Performance Meet.

Katharine Merry Trophy Dina Asher-Smith is the winner of the Katharine Merry Trophy for her run of 22.61 in the first semi-final of the European Championships in Zurich, a run which ranked her third in the UK senior rankings and broke Kathy Cook’s British junior record that had stood since 1979. However, Dina could also have won the award for a number of

And the winner is ... other performances having won world junior gold over 100m and breaking the British junior record over 100m.

Young Athlete of the Year – Male (see page 5) City of York AC’s Tom Somers has had an eventful but highly successful season over 200m. Tom’s time of 20.37 in the semi-final of the World Junior Championships in Eugene ranks him second only to Usain Bolt as a 17-year-old and placed him third on the UK rankings list in 2014. His achievement is all the more remarkable as he had only been concentrating on athletics for a little over a year having shown promise as a rugby player. We were delighted to welcome Tom to our annual awards dinner at Brandon Hall in November last year to accept his award.

Young Athlete of the Year – Female

Dina Asher-Smith

It is difficult to know where to start to list the achievements of Morgan Lake in the 2014 season, as she won World Junior gold in Eugene in both the heptathlon

Susannah Ingram Award – Male

discus record in the F42 class to an impressive 49.08m. The first major competitive stop of the season for the Welshman was in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games where he finished second behind his GB team mate, Dan Greaves, who was competing for England in this mixed classification event. Aled struck double gold at the IPC European Championships in Swansea winning the F42 shot and discus.

2014 was a busy year for Cardiff Met’s Aled Davies. Early in the season he extended his world

Susannah Ingram Award – Female

and high jump, setting a British junior high jump best of 1.94m in the high jump and a world youth record of 6148 in the heptathlon. Earlier in the season, Morgan scored over 6000 points at the Gotzis Hypomeeting, an event won by Katarina JohnsonThompson, a previous winner of this award.

(see page 13) Aled Davies

Aged just 14, Maria Lyle from Dunbar had a most impressive first year of elite competition. Opening up her season at the Fazaa Grand Prix in Dubai, she broke the nine-year-old T35 200m world record by over a second. Three months later, the 100m world record was to fall. Maria’s season was capped by an impressive 100m/200m double in Swansea. BASC chairman Philip Andrew recently presented a delighted Maria with her award at her Edinburgh training venue. Jon Mason

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 21

19

14/01/2015 13:38:23


PLAN YOUR TIMETABLE

2015-2017 calendar of events 2015 February 14-15 British Athletics Indoor Championships 21 British Athletics Indoor GP 20-22 BUCS Indoor Championships 21 English Cross Country Championships

March 6-8 33rd European Indoor Athletics Championships 7 Cross Challenge Final & CAU Cross Country Championships 28 41st IAAF World Cross Country Championships April 11 National Road Relays 26

London Marathon

May 2-3 TBC 2-4 15 17 17

IAAF World Relay Championships BUCS Outdoor Championships Diamond League International Athletics Diamond League

30 Diamond League 30-31 41st Hypo Combined Events Meeting 31 Bedford International Games (BIG)

June 4 Diamond League 7 Diamond League 11 Diamond League 13 Diamond League 20-21 6th European Athletics Team Championships 20-21 U23 &U20 Championships & European Trials

Sheffield Birmingham Sheffield Parliament Hill Fields, London

Rome, Italy Birmingham Oslo, Norway New York, USA Cheboksary, Russia Bedford

July 4 Diamond League 4-5 European Cup Combined Events 9 Diamond League

Prague, Czech Republic Cofton Park, Birmingham Guiyang, China

3-5 9-12

Sutton Park, Birmingham London

15-19 16-19 17 24-25

Nassau, Bahamas Bedford Doha, Qatar Loughborough Shanghai, China Eugene, USA Gotzis, Austria

30

Paris, France Aubagne, France Lausanne, Switzerland British Athletics Championships Birmingham 10th European Athletics U23 Tallinn, Estonia Championships 10th IAAF World Youth Cali, Columbia Championships 23rd European Athletics Junior Eskilstuna, Championships Sweden Diamond League Monaco Diamond League, London Anniversary Games Diamond League Stockholm, Sweden

August 22-30 15th IAAF World Championships Beijing, China September 3 Diamond League

Bedford 11

Diamond League

MARK SHEARMAN

October 21-31 IPC World Athletics

Zurich, Switzerland Brussels, Belgium

Doha, Qatar

December 13 22nd European Athletics Cross Toulon-Hyeres, Country Championships France

2016

BIG: May 31

20

March 18-20 IAAF World Indoor Championships

Portland, Oregon, USA

July 6-10 23rd European Athletics Championships

Amsterdam, Holland

August 5-21 Olympic Games

Rio, Brazil

September 7-18 Paralympic Games

Rio, Brazil

2017 July 1 IPC World Athletics August 5-13 IAAF World Athletics Championships

London

London

Websites British Athletics League www.bal.org.uk UK Women’s League www.ukwal.org.uk Youth Development League www.ukydl.org.uk BUCS www.bucs.org.uk English Federation of Disability Sport www.efds.co.uk CP Sport www.cpsport.org British Wheelchair Racing Association www.bwra.co.uk English Schools Athletics Association www.esaa.net IAAF Diamond League www.iaaf.org/competition/calendar European Athletics www.european-athletics.org/competitions Also see

www.basclub.org.uk for links This calendar is as accurate as possible at publication, but is subject to revision and addition.The BASC is indebted to Athletics Weekly for their invaluable assistance in the preparation of Backtrack. Our best thanks also go to Mark Shearman for the use of his great photographs. (To subscribe to Athletics Weekly, please telephone 01778-392018).

B a c k t ra c k W i nte r 2 0 1 5

Backtrack January 2015 20pp.indd 2

14/01/2015 13:15:22