Hannah Ridley writes …
It was a fantastic weekend full of outstanding performances from Biggleswade athletes at the Eastern Indoor Athletics Championships, which were held at Lee Valley Athletics Centre on the 2nd and 3rd of February.
Kicking things off for Biggleswade was Sarah Ridley in the Senior Women’s shot put. Her second-round effort of 9.93m was good enough to see her through to the final three rounds. After the further three attempts, her second round throw proved enough for a spot on the podium, with Sarah winning the bronze medal.
First to go on the track was Iona Newbegin in the U17 Women’s 60m. Iona sailed through both her heat and her semi-final, running a PB of 7.99secs along the way. Despite not getting the best start in her final, she came back at her opponents in the last few metres, and after some debate over a photo finish, Iona was awarded the bronze medal in a time of 8.03.
Sarah was back in action later on Saturday, this time in the 60m. Due to the number of athletes entered, her race became a straight final and she powered out of the blocks, running her way to a brilliant fourth place finish in 8.32. This ended the action for the Saturday, with both athletes plus many more from Biggleswade returning to Lee Valley the following day.
Jessica Cooke toed the start line in the first race of the day, the U17 women’s 300m. Despite not progressing from her heat, Jessica ran a fantastic race and finished in fifth place in 47.6secs. Sophie Forbes-Laird ran in the U15 race, finishing second in her heat, meaning she progressed to the final later on in the day. Sophie’s final was a nail-biting affair, with her going out hard and just managing to hold off the competitor who beat her previously to come home with the silver medal in a personal best performance of 42.69.
Next up were the 200m runners. The U17s were split into three heats, and the second of those saw two Biggleswade athletes walk onto the track, Abi Smith and Molly May. In her first race ever, Abi put in a stellar performance and finished fourth in 28.84, but unfortunately she missed out on a spot in the final by 0.1 seconds. Abi was closely followed by Molly, who finished fifth in her first indoor race with a superb PB of 29.63.
It was Iona’s turn in the third heat and her second place finish saw her automatically qualify for the semi-finals. She repeated that result in the semi and progressed to the final. Six races in two days plus illness seemed to have taken its toll, but Iona still finished in a strong fourth place in 26.92.
The senior women’s 800m was another straight final with Hannah Ridley wearing the yellow vest. She ran on her own for three of the four laps, but unfortunately got pipped on the line for second place, to finish third. However, she still finished with a smile and collected a bronze medal for her performance, taking the total medal tally for the weekend to four. These athletes now look forward to starting the outdoor season at the Bedfordshire Open on the 6th April in Luton, and the first league match in St Ives on the 13th April.