Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Middlesex Championships (May 2016)

15th of May - Lee Valley

The standard of sprinting at the County Championships was high, as it has always been.
However, except for reasonable field events results, the County Championships have not really been supported enough. That fact was substantiated by Roy Stratton, the announcer, who was Championship Secretary from 1997 to 2012, having been in athletics since December 1955. His wife has just retired as Middlesex County secretary.
“I think the top athletes are not encouraged to enter the county championships that is the problem. It seems to be well, the standard in county championships has fallen therefore, athletes don’t think it is worth doing”

‘A lot of the problem is, they are influenced by what their coaches have to say. Back in the 1950’s & 60’s everybody did the county championships, as the County Championships was the pathway to competing in the Inter-Counties which, was of an equal standard to the AAA’s Championships.  If you did not do the county championships you would not be selected for the Inter-Counties, unless there was a very good reason why you had to miss the county championships and the team Manager said ‘This chap is unfortunate he should go into it.’ The two main meetings of the year were the AAA’s and Inter Counties Championships.
The Inter-Counties in those days used to be held at the end of May, which is now the spring Bank holiday. The County Championships were in the second week in May as they are now.”

In the Middlesex, this year, in the very first track event on the first of two days competition was the 400h (U20) and, there was just one competitor who turned out. Agibola Aderemi, who ran 55.94. He had come third in the English schools last year. He remarked on whether he minded that there being no one to push him?
“It made it a bit less informal but, I can’t make excuses and, it is me against myself if people are not there.”
A clear winner in the Under 17’s women’s 300m was Michelle Mamudu, 16, from Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets AC and, coached by Alf Vickers. She started racing in ‘Year 8’ and is rated third in the country over 400m with a time of 58.11.

In the first field event, the Women’s hammer, all the age group winners had reasonably good throws. The furthest was by senior, Debbie McCaw, who hurled the implement out to 46’85.
In the Javelin senior events Craig Lacy threw 62’09 & Laura Britane, who won the women’s javelin with 41.25, (plus the discus in her case), had both had a hard Winter’s training and thought they would improve radically with more competitions, as the season progressed. Britane is particularly looking forward to her club TVH competing in the European Clubs match.

Southern women’s sprint Champion, Rachel Miller (26); running from lane 2, not only ran a personal best 100m in 11.54 but was over two seconds in front of the next competitor.
“Gary Telfer coaches me. He was a 400m hurdler. This is my second year of racing seriously.”

Leroy Cain (TVH), who was 21, two days later, with just a 1.0 w/s, ran 10.57 to win the 100 and he also had a victory in the 200 in 21.4. He came from Jamaica in 2012, having grown up as a fan of Asafa Powell and, later motivated to run by talking to Usain Bolt. It really gave me that motivation to do the sport. It is something I love as it started me to do athletics. It was not good for me in 2013 then in 2014 I started improving‘
‘It is pleasing because it is my first outdoor win for a Middlesex title. Last year I false started and in the 200, I came third. At the moment my coach is Clarence Callender.’
‘I love the 100 so much but, my coaches say I am a 200m runner but I love the 100 so bad“.

Niclas Baker ran his personal best 400m of 47.41 on the Sunday, at Newham’s Open meet and, won the 400 in the Middlesex in his second best ever time of 47.91 from lane 4. But, he said he did not feel that good.
He certainly looked impressive, as a tall runner with his long white socks to keep out the cold (as it was really, really cool for May). ‘I used to run the hurdles from 14 to 16 and I stopped. For 100 hurdles I ran 13.3 and 4th in the English Schools. I did 400 hurdles a few weeks later and got a 56 and then I ran a 51’ 400 and, I quit for about two years. This is my second year properly coming back-I stopped from 17 to 19.’
His current coach John Powell said “Niclas had been absorbed in hurdles for some time but then injured. He then came to me a couple of years ago, I have been saying to him  he was a decent hurdler and could probably get a good 400m hurdles time out but, he needed to look at the 400 flat stuff. I see him running 45 seconds in the next 12 months”

Shaun Lightman, now 73 years of age (Born 15/4/43) was third home in the 3000m walk, at Lee Valley Stadium. It was the 2000th race walk for the 1968 Olympian.

Three juniors who ran for Highgate Harriers, show a lot of promise. Under 15 athlete, Michael Ogbechie performed reasonably in the 200 and javelin but his high mark was in the high jump where he cleared 1.89 as a Championship best Performance.
Breaking through, as an Under 17 was Austin Harris, who had come third for Camden in the Long Borough Mini London Marathon event in April.
At Lee Valley Harris was close behind the leaders early on, in the (under 17) 1500 and, then overtook the leader with 130m to go, with a withering sprint finish. His time 4:23.7 and he also came 3rd in the 800 in 2:8.29.

Isayah Boers impressed in the (Under 20) 200 final, he ran 21.99 to win, after coming second in the heat in 22.7. Boers was born 19th of June 1999, having started running two years previously. He was just coming back from injury but with a good winters training behind him and coached by Marius Guei.

Alastair Aitken

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