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7th Sep, 2023, Juliet Kavanagh

Four athletes did exceptionally well to qualify for the National U15/U17 Championships in Birmingham, which were held during the August bank holiday weekend.  Due to rail strikes three athletes stayed in Birmingham that weekend, coming back on Sunday, and here are their reflections...

"I had a great time at Birmingham as I got a PB in hammer of 40.89 and I got 3rd in shot put with 12.13. I met a lot of great people and had an amazing experience and hope to go again soon."
— Elsa Shabani

"I had a very good time in Birmingham. The competition was more challenging than anything i’ve ever experienced before and although i didn’t get a pb or medal, it was a great experience and i hope to go again next year."
— Monisade Ayodeji

"Hello, I'm Bradley, an athlete that qualified for the national athletics 300m race. I train and race for Highgate Harriers under my coach Juliet. The weekend at nationals was very fun and was truly an experience like no other. Getting there was a verryyy funny bit of a hassle but we made it and the whole thing took place in Alexander Stadium. Its blue track looks really cool and the races look even cooler. While I myself didn't do as well in my race it was still very fun to be part of and everyone there had potential to go even further.

I did however very much dislike the rain buutt I guess England is England. The field events were amazing as always and my personal favourite being Pole Vault - it is always a jaw-dropper simply as you really need a good mindset to even think of going that high up. In professional athletics it evolves into a level that seems impossible to reach to be honest. The times for the races are also insane, did you know that race walkers can do a MILE in under FIVE MINUTES (It is actually under 5 mins/kilometre, but that's my bad info to Bradley on that one... Juliet).  I mean imagine that. But at the end of the day it was really fun and I'm very happy I got to compete, one of my friends even walked away with 3rd place, so well done to her, but yeah, that's all from me."

— Bradley Baka

Izzy Ions was the fourth athlete to compete, and she did exceptionally well to reach the 800m U15 girls' final, having to travel back and forth from London both days in order to compete...

"There were some interesting times in getting to and from the stadium and our accommodation.  (It REALLY helps if you read ALL the instructions...) The 2-hour trek to find a bus stop on the Saturday night was particularly noteworthy - we saw the centre of Birmingham in some depth!  Bradley's comment that "this street looks familiar" was not well-received by everyone after an hour and a half...  However, we did manage to get to and from everywhere without too many issues, and everyone did really well - Elsa's medal and PB were the highlights, but Monisade was 4th on countback in the U15 girls high jump also, and everyone performed well, although not necessarily as well as they would have hoped..."
— Izzy Ions