Northampton’s Emily Williams capped of a magnificent week which saw her follow up her first English Schools track title with her first international win at the Santry Stadium in Dublin where she became the British & Irish 800m Champion for U17 Girls at the SAIB Track & Field International.
This was Williams’ first competition on track representing her country which is an incredible achievement for her, especially as she is still a bottom year athlete.
This follows on from the Northampton School for Girls pupil’s first podium finish earlier in the year over cross country at the SAIB International at Magnum Park where she won a bronze medal.
Williams, who runs for the Kettering Harriers club, was competing against a quality field which included Molly Canham from England who finished in second place behind Williams at English Schools, and the top two athletes from all the respective home nations in Scotland, Wales and a combined Ireland.
On a warm but blustery day at Santry Stadium in Dublin, a slightly nervous Williams was perhaps feeling the pressure of being the favourite following her magnificent PB performance at English Schools, but she needn’t have worried as she produced another outstanding performance.
From the gun Williams took the race by the scruff of the neck and set a pace which only England’s Canham could live with, and she split at an impressive 64 seconds for the blustery conditions.
Williams continued to work hard on the back straight and with her 1500m strength she opened up a comfortable gap, and controlled the race all the way to the finish with an impressive 2:07.85 to take the win in style.
Her performance not only secured the gold medal, but it also won the David Littlewood Award for the best overall female performance throughout the international contest.
Williams was delighted with her first international win, and said: “I’m so pleased to have won English Schools and the SAIB international gold in back-to-back weeks.
“It felt amazing to win today and all my hard work seems to have paid off with the two titles and a new PB.
“It was also a great privilege to win the David Littlewood Award, which was a total shock to me”.
The win caps a wonderful track season for Williams, who is UK ranked No.2 in both the 800m and 1500m, and she will now sit down with her coach Shane Smith to decide on her next priorities.
Smith said: “This was a performance of top quality.
“Emily totally dominated the race from start to finish and this is a measure of her increasing confidence on the big stage which is a great attribute.
“We will sit down to discuss option for the remaining few weeks of the season, she is still in terrific form so we may opt to attempt to go for fast times.”
Rugby & Northampton youngsters shine in Development League
Rugby & Northampton’s young athletes delivered yet another outstanding performance at the Youth Development League area final in Cardiff last weekend, narrowly missing out on a place in the national finals.
The under-13 girls starred on track and field, with Alice Bennett and Flo Matthews setting new club records en route to victory.
Bennett won the 800 metres B string in a time of 2:28.47, while Matthews led the way in the long jump with a leap of 5.02 metres.
Matthews also took first in the 150m (20.80), a feat mirrored by several clubmates.
Ruby Wood won the 75m (10.49), Alice Bates completed an 800m double by winning the A (2:30.42), and there were B successes for Charlotte Woodward (70m hurdles – 12.93) and Elspeth Unitt (1200m – 4:08.56).
Lily Carlaw was another to take top spot, triumphing in the shot put after her effort of 10.07 left her more than two metres clear of her closest competitors, and there were yet more under-13s to follow her on to the podium.
Xcena Pasqualin earned a pair of third-placed finishes in the 70m hurdles (12.32) and the high jump (1.25), Anna Farrow (23.11) was second in the javelin, and the girls took third in the 4x100m relay in 55.21 seconds.
It was in the field where the under-15 girls shone, with Ella Watford (1.55) first in the A high jump, which she followed up with second in the long jump (5.00). Eloise Nowill won the B high jump with 1.55 to complete the double.
Isabelle Thomson was victorious in both the B shot put (9.25) and discus (22.97), while Maia Reynolds impressed in the A string, taking second (9.83) and third (23.84) in the respective events.
Abigail Ward was second in the javelin with a throw of 37.19.
On the track, Abigail Smith set the tone with 100m glory in 13.36, while Ward (27.91) was runner-up in the 200m. Amelia McMurtrie took third in the 800m with 2:23.85, and Amelia Tutt (12.15) added second place in the 75m hurdles. Second was also the result in both the 4x100 and 4x300m relays, where the team registered times of 52.42 and 3:02.69.
There were plenty of good performances among the boys too, with under-15 Noah Bennett claiming second in the 1500m A string, crossing the line in a new PB of 4:34.56.
For the under-13s, it was 800m double delight with Oliver Birch and Oliver Savage taking first in the A and B strings. Birch won in 2:25.32, and Savage took top spot in 2:27.87.
Louis Buttrick added to the track success, grabbing second in the 1500m with a PB of 4:51.90.
Rounding off the day in the field, Joshua Tutt was dominant again, winning the shot put by more than three metres with a distance of 11.51 metres. An Oliver Scott PB of 1.35 secured him victory in the B string high jump, and Lewis Gurney was second in the A, with a jump of 1.46.
There was a runner-up spot for Luke Turner too, after he delivered a personal best javelin throw of 27.03.