Multi-events specialist Daniel Steel began his track and field season with a new sensation – that of being a new father. Arriving at the England Athletics Indoor Combined Events championships in Sheffield, and having been away from competition for four months, expectations were hard to assess over two days of tough action. “It was already a huge task to get close to my club record 3,383pts,” he said. “However, I was in for an almighty shock.” Four of them, to be precise.
First up was the 60m. “I got off to a solid start and to my surprise me and one other started to pull away from the field. Second place, 7.76sec, a personal best.
“My long jump was a solid 5.84m, but nothing spectacular, but then the shot put was the biggest surprise of the weekend. After a foul in the 1st round my second round throw was half a metre longer than I’d thrown before and a club record by 99cm – 9.60m!
“For the high jump I was expecting to jump around the 1.70m-1.75m area. However, I was feeling good in warm-up, clearing 1.75m in the process. So, I had a clear card through 1.65m, 1.71m, 1.74m and 1.77m, then cleared my year target-height of 1.80m at the second attempt. Safe to say the whole Sheffield arena heard my delight at clearing the bar!”
Day two posed an additional challenge, and Dan arrived on the back of a sleepless night, thanks to six-week-old Maisie. In spite of this, he got off to another fine start in the 60m hurdles. “Leading into the first barrier my stride pattern got the better of me and fell away towards the end. However, a time of 10.71s hadn’t caused any damage and the record was well and truly on.
“In the pole vault I had trouble with the pole in warm-up. But once I had got going clearances at 2.78m, 2.88m, 2.98m – then, finally another PB of 3.08m! That meant I had scored more than last year with one whole event still to go.
“Going into the final event, the 1,000m, I knew I needed 3:13 to break 3,600 points. However in the middle of the race I’d got isolated and with a lap to go I was too slow. Somehow I pulled out a 34-second final lap to finish in 3:10.40.”
This added up to a superb 3,629 points, 246 points more than his previous indoor club record, and a fine 20th place overall among some of the best young multi-event talents in England.