It was an exciting weekend for the Dartford Harriers athletes competing at Bedford in the England Athletics Under 20 and Under 23 Championships.
The championships also doubled up as the trials for the European Under 20 Championships. Only the winner of each event was guaranteed a spot in the Great Britain team and then, only if they had achieved the difficult qualifying standards set by UK Athletics. The European Under 20 Championships will take place in Boras in Sweden on 18th to 21st July.
Holly Page produced the best performance of all the hoops athletes competing winning the 3000 metres steeplechase and booking her place in the Great Britain squad heading to the European Under 20 championships, as she already has the qualifying standard. Her winning time of 10 minutes 28.92 seconds was nearly 30 seconds faster than the second place athlete. Page admitted that the hot conditions had really played a part in hampering her performance making it particularly difficult to breathe during the race.
Page, who is currently ranked 5th in Europe, will be hoping that she can take her good form forward to the European Championships in Sweden. Her coach, Jason Marchant, commented:
It was going to be a great battle in Sweden, especially as a couple of the German girls are running particularly well at the moment. He and Holly were looking forward to rising to the challenge at Boras.Jason Marchant, Coach of Holly Page
Meanwhile, in the 200 metres Kaliyah Young, showed that she really has the potential to challenge at these championships in the future. She is still an under 17 and was competing against a field packed with the best under 20 athletes in the country. Drawn in the difficult inside line for the final of the 200 metres, Young ran an excellent race to finish 5th in a time of 24.26 seconds into a strong headwind. She will have several more years competing at these championships so there is every chance that she will be the next Dartford Harrier to stand on the podium at this event.
Eloise Harvey was also competing in the Triple Jump and the Long Jump. She finished 6th in both events with performances of 5m 98cm in the long jump and 12m 35cm in the triple jump. The windy conditions really affected performances across all the jumps.
Thank you to Jason Marchant for his contribution to this article.