BY TOM POLLAK
Four Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club athletes will be competing in the prestigious annual English Schools Athletics Championships in Manchester this weekend.
The championships, which were cancelled last year because of coronavirus, will be very different from previous years. Entries will be limited in all events due to Covid-19 restrictions and they will be staged over three days, instead of the usual two. So as to reduce mixing, different age groups will be held on each of the three days.
The senior girls and boys will be held today with the intermediate girls and boys tomorrow. The junior girls and boys compete on Sunday.
Heading the quartet will be Wandsworth schoolboy Freddie Arkell, who races in the intermediate boys 200m on Saturday where he is the top ranked UK athlete for the event with his 22.0 seconds posting at Lee Valley in April. It will be the second appearance in the English Schools Championships for the student at St Cecilia’s School, Southfields. He took the junior boys 100m silver medal on his debut in Birmingham in 2019.
Two Hercules athletes will be in action on Friday. Emanuel schoolgirl Georgie Clarke, who will also be making her second appearance in the championships, competes in the senior girls 1,500m after posting the qualifying time in Somerset in May. She finished ninth in the intermediate girls 1,500m on her debut appearance in the event in 2019.
Wimbledon High School student Ellen Weir is in the senior girls 1,500m steeplechase. She is ranked seventh in her age group this summer with her 5:11.4 victory in the West Suffolk Steeplechase Festival at Bury St Edmunds in May.
Putney High School pupil Mabel-Rose Scales, 14, competes in the junior girls high jump on Sunday where her personal best-equalling clearance of 1.60m at the London Schools championships at Battersea Park in June ranks her sixth in the country for her age group this year.
It is her only competition since she suffered a career-threatening broken left ankle in June last year during high jump training with her coach, former British international Dalton Grant. Her last competition before this year’s London Schools’ win was in the English indoor championships in Sheffield in February 2020.
Wimbledon College youngster Conor Kelly, who only started in athletics at the end of May, showed fine form in finishing runner-up for Surrey in the South East schools junior boys pentathlon championship at Lee Valley. He scored 2,714 points which ranks him second UK U15 boy this summer. His best individual effort was in the high jump where he cleared 1.71m, the seventh best by a UK athlete in his age group this summer.
Felix Allen was top veteran over-45 finisher in Sunday’s Goodwood Marathon in Sussex on Sunday.
It was his first marathon since December and he posted his best time since clocking a PB of 2:52:40 in Amsterdam in October 2019.
Tom Cheetham, competing in his 95th marathon, was top veteran over-50 finisher in 3:14:13, a big improvement on his PB marathon this year of 3:17:30 posted at Kempton Park in May.
Main Pic: Hercules Wimbledon’s Freddie Arkell who goes for gold in this weekend’s English Schools Championships in Manchester.
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