Just Flan-tastic

NIALL Flannery found himself at the top of the podium once again after his latest success in the England Athletics Age Group Championships at Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium.

NIALL Flannery found himself at the top of the podium once again after his latest success in the England Athletics Age Group Championships at Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium.

The Gateshead Harrier has already won the English Schools’ 400 metres hurdles title this season and also made his GB international debut.

So it was no surprise that he won his favoured event with over a second to spare in a time of 53.60secs, just a fraction away from his pb of 53.28sec which he set last month when finishing fourth in the European Youth Olympic Festival in Belgrade, Serbia.

During a weekend of intense competition in Yorkshire, Flannery was the only athlete from the region to win a gold medal.

However, there were many other notable performances, including Nicola Pearson’s second place in the 300 metres.

Pearson, also a member of Gateshead Harriers, scorched to a personal best time of 40.04s, pushing eventual winner Savannah Echel-Thomson, of Brighton Phoenix, to a pb winning time of 39.28s.

With those times, Echel-Thomson heads the UK rankings, with Pearson moving up to sixth.

English Schools’ 1,500 metres champion Laura Weightman dropped down in distance to contest the 800 metres and wasn’t disgraced in finishing second behind Kerrie Harris of the Hull Achilles club.

The Humberside athlete, runner-up in the English Schools’ 800 metres, won in 2:09.78, with Weightman recording 2:11.40.

Sally Scott also made it on to the podium after finishing second behind arch-rival Jade Ive (Sutton and Dist) in the pole vault.

Ive won the competition with a clearance of 3:80m, with Scott clearing 3:60m for second place.

Like Weightman, Ross Murray (Gateshead) won the Schools’ title in Birmingham over 1,500 metres but dropped down to take his chance over two laps on this occasion.

Facing athletes with faster times against their names, Murray battled all the way to the line for a fine bronze medal with a time of 1:56.16.

Shildon’s Kate Avery, second behind Weightman in the English Schools, tackled the 3,000 metres on this occasion, and although she only finished third, she knocked nearly 15 seconds off her previous best for the distance.

Another athlete who achieved a pb was Tim Parkin in the pole vault. The Gateshead Harrier improved his best by 10cm after a clearance of 4:10m which left him in fifth place in the competition.

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