Woodford's Strange sets new Scottish indoor pole vault record

WOODFORD GREEN WITH ESSEX LADIES athletes achieved several fine pole vault results at Loughborough and Cardiff at the weekend, including a Scottish indoor record for Alasdair Strange.

WOODFORD GREEN WITH ESSEX LADIES athletes achieved several fine pole vault results at Loughborough and Cardiff at the weekend, including a Scottish indoor record for Alasdair Strange.

At Lea Valley in the South of England Championships there were several good performances, including 800 metre titles for Omar Mansour and Katherine Foy, and a 400m personal best for Paul Scanlan.

In Cardiff, in the UWIC Pole Vault competition, Christian North took part in his first competition of the indoor season and won with a clearance of 5.05m, while Maria Seager was fourth with 3.95m in a high-standard women's competition.

There was even better news from Loughborough where Strange improved his lifetime best by 2cm as he cleared 5.15m setting a new Scottish indoor record, improving the old mark by 5cm.


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At Lea Valley,Mansour put in a mature performance to retain his under-20 800m title, leaving his effort to the bell and running very strongly over the last 200m to clock an impressive winning time of 1.55.72.

In her first season as a senior, Katherine Foy was a comfortable winner of the women's 800m with a useful season-opening time of 2.14.98. Diana Kennedy picked up the bronze medal in 2.26.53.

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Over 400m, first year under-20 16-year-old Paul Scanlan impressed, but a photo-finish in the final saw him finish second by one hundredth of a second. The time 48.90 was good enough to set a new personal best however.

Tara Bird also picked up a silver medal in the senior women's event in 56.04, but finished behind fellow international, and training partner, Dawn Hunt.

In the senior event, British international Nick Leavey, a medalist in the 4x400m from last year's European Indoor Championships, led at the break, only to be badly baulked on the bend by eventual winner Nigel Levine, who was lucky not to be disqualified. Leavey never fully recovered from this incident and was run out on the line, placing fifth in 48.53.

Also included in this meeting were the women's age group indoor pentathlon championships, where sisters Hannah and Hollie Pattie-Belilli each picked up medals.

In the under-15 event, Hannah placed third with a score of 2,360 points, while Hollie took silver in the under-17 event with 2,780 points.

Both scores were personal bests and there was an individual personal best of 1.41m in the high jump for Hannah, as Hollie equalled hers with 1.48m. There was also a 60m hurdles personal best of 9.51 for Hollie.

Jean Pickering has been awarded an MBE for services to athletics and the Ron Pickering Fund. She was originally a member of Essex Ladies as an athlete and was then President and life member.

As Jean Desforges, she won gold in the 4x100m relay at the 1950 European Championships, with fellow club member Dorothy Manley also in the team, and gold in the 1954 European Championships in the long jump.

Now 80, she still attends various athletic meetings, mostly for young people, and meets and talks to athletes she has helped through the Ron Pickering Fund.

She has also survived a lot of ill health including triple bypass surgery, breast cancer and now arthritis and remains an inspiration to everyone at the club.

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