Loughborough University was host to another ebullient athletics event last weekend, The Pickering Memorial International Throws Event where numerous PBs and impressive performances were centre stage. The event was held in memory of Ron, Jean and Shaun Pickering, who – if you aren’t already aware – were very prominent figures in the world of athletics. Not solely because they were successful athletes themselves, but because of their impact in developing and supporting young athletes. Many of our idol athletes that we know of today may not have been as successful as they are if it weren’t for the Pickering family. 

An array of different athletes from 7 countries (and a team from Loughborough University) were in attendance bringing a vast pool of talent. Having such a blend of athletes was a real pleasure for us and something that we know the Pickering family would have been very enthused about. 

Looking über strong, Cleo Agyepong (pictured above) took charge in the women’s shot and dominated with a throw of 15.12m, just shy of a PB and almost an entire meter further than she threw indoors. Such a fine performance also landed her the much-anticipated Female Performance of the Day prize. This, and the male equivalent, were the top prizes of the day which included £500 from RPMF and a free training camp in Spain courtesy of Train in Spain. There were additional other prizes including gift vouchers from Neuff Athletics and sunglasses from Goodr.

The men’s equivalent prize was won by irishman Thomas Williams in the hammer after a huge 72.82m throw which despite not being a PB, was still far enough to be 2nd in Europe. The Athletics Ireland Athlete of the Year Finalist has had a phenomenal year so far having already got the standard for European U18 Championships which are being host by Slovakia this year. Oh, and he’s only 16!

In a kind gesture from the weather, it held off a downpour until the very last round of the very last event, the women’s discus. It was this event that saw Anna Gavigan from Ireland throw a PB and off 49.10m. In the men’s equivalent, it was won by U20 athlete, Teddy Gannon who also surprised himself with a new PB. Not too far behind was Italy’s Pietro Dal Soglio. Being a particularly poignant competition for him, he was competing in memory of Shaun as his father, Italian national throws coach Paulo Dal Soglio was one of Shaun’s great friends. 

RPMF treasurer Kim Pickering, Ron and Jean’s daughter (and Shaun’s sister) explained how she, and others from the athletics world, had curated “memorial wall for Shaun and [we] took all his Olympic & Commonwealth jackets, photos, newspaper reports” to celebrate his life and achievements. She later added, “it was emotional, not just for me, but also for some of his coach-friends too. There were some lovely tributes too”. To continue such a unique tessellation of Shaun’s legacy, the exhibition has been recreated online as part of The Athletics Museum, which can be found here.

Thank you to all those who were part of this event, from sponsors to athletes to supporters, we are so pleased it all came together so successfully – an event the Pickering family would be very proud to be part of.

Written by Carmen Neat