With the Utilita Arena date sold out for two days, there is a promising outlook for the support of athletics in the UK. Indeed, the Saturday produced a nonstop series of events that occasionally resulted in personal best records being set.
There was drama a plenty in the women’s long jump final, where Jade O’Dowda snatched the gold medal on her last jump with a distances of 6.19m. It required a Personal Best from O’Dowda who was in 3rd place going into the last round. In fact, all medallist, including Cleo Martin-Evans (Silver) and Molly Palmer (bronze) set PB’s, demonstrating the edge that competition can bring.
From the moment the doors opened there was a steady stream of visitors of all ages, taking their places in the 7400 seater arena. That attendance in itself was record for an indoor athletics competition.
There was a healthy attendance of youngsters that showed their allegiance to the participants, cheering loudly for their favourites whilst respectively allowing the place to fall silent for the start of any key events. Then it was back to a dance music sound track intended to get the audience moving.
Plenty of PB’s were set, including one from the likes of Kevin Santos in the 60m men’s para:
It was also an occasion whereby the heat of battle spurred competitors on to surpass their own records. For example, in the women’s long jump final Jade O’Dowda went into final round in the women’s long jump in third place, Yet knowing that she had at least a bronze medal position assured, she dug deep and managed to generate a personal best distance of 6.19 metres.
The minuscule, winning margin of one centimetre nudged Cleo Martin-Edwards into the silver medal position, who herself conjured up a PB, whilst bronze medal winner Molly Palmer also had a PB.
At the athletics meeting in Manchester last year, Molly Caudery set a PB and once again pushed herself with not just a PB for a pole vault height of 4.85m but a championship record.
It’s not all about youth though. If you are good enough then you are old enough and at the age of 45 Dwain Chambers took his place on the starting line of the 60m and accepted the warm applause and goodwill of a sold out Utilita Arena. Although he could not push himself to victory, that did not deter the crowd from wanting to speak to him and sign their programmes.
Spread over two days, multiple heats took place with finalists setting themselves up for what will no doubt be another day for setting records