AFTER a disappointing 2015 season in the Midland Track & Field League, the Stratford Athletic Club team were hoping for a good start in their opening fixture of 2016 at Tipton.
Although inevitably there were absences due to injury and illness, there were some of Stratford’s best athletes competing successfully for the club which enjoyed a number of wins, particularly in the women’s jumps.
Emily Madden Forman won the long jump with a leap of 5.18m, whilst Issy Cain-Daley claimed third place in the B competition.
In Emily’s specialist event, the triple jump, she again won with a mark of 10.95m, while Issy was second in the B competition with 10.17m.
Moving on to the high jump, it was Issy’s turn to jump in her main event and she cleared 1.65m to comfortably win the competition, narrowly failing at 1.69m which would have been a league record for the division.
Although not her favourite event, Paula Williams jumped well to finish second B athlete, and to complete their successes Emily and Issy won the B races for 100m and 200m respectively.
In the women’s sprints A races Dani Horton made her debut for the team and ran very well against tough opposition to claim fifth and third places.
Zoe Chandler made her comeback on the track with two tremendous victories. In the 3,000m she led all the way to eventually win by a three-second margin and then less than 30 minutes later ran in the 1,500m and won by an enormous 16 seconds.
Another success arrived in the shot put. Leicester’s international Eden Francis was dominating the throws but Paula Williams achieved a PB of 9.91 to come second, while debutant Paivi McMillan won the B competition. Paivi also won the B javelin and looks to be a strong addition to the team.
In the men’s throws James Chamberlain returned to action after a three-year break and gained valuable points, particularly in the javelin in which he was third, but looks likely to improve with more competition.
There was also a very strong third place from Graham Black in the hammer.
In the distance events the highlights were Oscar Barbour racing his first 5,000m and coming third – the same position as Kieran Tursner in the steeplechase.
Because of injuries to some of the sprinters it showed the great team spirit at the club to see middle-distance runners Fergus Allison and Matt Bayliss covering some shorter events than they are used to.
Report compiled by Paul Hawkins.