The Ron Pickering Memorial Award for Services to Athletics, awarded annually by the British Athletics Writers Association was this year […]
RPMF supported athletes feature at European Team ChampionshipsAugust 16, 2019
It was great to see Poland triumph on home soil at last weekend’s European Team Champs in Bydgoszcz, the venue for so many age-group championships over the years – so a stadium known to many of the British team competing there again, some for the second or third time in a GB vest.
It was equally encouraging to see a host of former and currently supported RPMF athletes gaining the competition either as part of their preparation for the World Championships in Doha, challenge for Doha qualifying marks, but especially the chance for younger team members, some for the first time in a senior vest, to get a valuable taste of senior international competition. The RPMF always looks at these events as a gauge of the impact that our support is having in the sport, and we take great pride in the fact that over three quarters of the GB Team in Bydgoszcz this year had been helped by a grant from the fund during their journey in the sport!
RPMF offers support to a small number of young and developing athletes each year, with an aim to help them overcome barriers to their future success. One such barrier is bridging the gap between junior and senior success in a GB vest – therefore competing with and against older and more experienced peers at a Euro Team Champs is a huge opportunity to assist with this transition. There is no better learning experience, providing the outcome – perceived as a good, bad or indifferent result – is recognised as a key part of the athlete’s overall development and continued learning to help them progress through the ranks.
Just a few names to mention..
We were delighted to see the top performance from Ben Williams, the World Youth Champion from 10 years previously – most of those years spent battling injury – with a win for maximum team points, a huge PB and a Doha qualifying mark. Changes to his coaching set up and own working commitments in recent months paid off so well for Ben – this surely marks the start of him impacting internationally within the senior ranks.
Richard Kilty took the other GB win of the Champs in the men’s 200m, with team points on his mind rather than a ‘nip’ in his hamstring felt halfway through the race. Richard’s last time in Bydgoszcz was competing in the 2008 World Junior Champs 200m semi final, but not making the final – underlining the importance of perseverance, persistence and learning from all experiences in a GB vest, good and some not so good.
The welcome return to the sport of Abigail Irozuru saw her finish a creditable second in the women’s Long Jump. We wish her well in her aim to attain the Doha qualifying standard in the next few weeks – she was just 2cm short in Bydgoszcz last weekend.
Jodie Williams second place in the women’s 200m was hard fought as she led into a head wind for most of the race. Jamie Webb continued his 2019 progress, battled and pretty much gave his all for the team to take to second place in a very tactical men’s 800m
Sophie McKinna gained the team valuable points taking third spot in the women’s Shot Put and continues her progress towards Doha in October.
Many other GB athletes made big strides towards their 2019 goals last weekend. Many more made smaller steps or simply gained more, valuable experience from this unique Championships opportunity. Those who recognise and embrace this experience and use it positively will see the real benefit of their weekend spent in Bydgoszcz.