Sheffield RAF Invitation Athletics Report
Els and Mels Ring Brunel’s Bells
The Brunel athletes recently visited the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield to compete in the annual RAF invitation meeting which brings together the three armed services as well as five top athletics universities. Brunel finished a creditable second to Loughborough’s violet army in both the men’s and women’s competitions. Brunel’s ladies performed particularly well finishing just 10 points behind the midlanders, with the charge spearheaded by a brace of ‘Els’ and ‘Mels’, namely Eloise Newman, Elise Walker, Melissa Courtney and Melody Kane.
The first win of the afternoon was delivered by Club Chair Eloise Newman (pictured) who held her nerve in the high jump to take her second win in a fortnight on countback (1.67 metres). The Sport Scholar commented afterwards on Brunel’s tremendous team spirit and how eagerly she was anticipating the upcoming British Universities indoor championships also at the EIS. Psychology undergraduate Elise Walker maintained a run of good form with a personal best in the 200 metres (25.85 secs) and solid displays in the 60-metre dash (7.95 secs) and 4 x 200-metre relay (26.4-sec split). Melissa Courtney, who is aiming to compete at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona later this year, stamped her authority on the 1500-metre field and won in a canter with a time of 4:18.00 mins. She was followed by fellow debutante Melody Kane who recorded a personal best of 5:13.68 mins in second.
The ‘Els and Mels’ did not take all of the limelight however: First-year Law student Zara Asante, who has spent the last 10 years strutting on the catwalks of New York, Paris and Milan, turned in a model performance in the triple jump with a bound of 11.85 metres. Heptathlete Jo Rowland weaved together another stellar combination of events and scored heavily for the team with 2nd in the shot putt (11.78 metres), 4th in the 400 metres (58.71 secs), 5th in the 60-metre hurdles (9.22 secs) and a swift 25.1 anchor leg in the 4 x 200-metre relay. Rowland’s coach, Ian Grant, revealed that “strength-wise Jo is streets ahead of where she was at this time last year, and technically, she just needs a little bit of tweaking.”
In the men’s competition sprinter André Wright and multi-eventer Ashley Bryant both continued purple patches in their athletic careers. Mathematics undergraduate Wright opened his campaign with 22.46 secs in the 200 metres which was good enough for 2nd and followed up with 3rd in the 60-metre dash (6.94 secs). The Sport Scholar closed the day with a 21.9-sec anchor leg that took the spoils for the Brunel team. The imperturbable Bryant had a busy day at the office and was not in the least bit derailed by a fire bell that emptied the arena while he was juggling two of his five events. The aspiring Olympian’s best performance came in the pole vault where he cleared 4.55 metres for 2nd place and he combined this with 5th in the shot (12.96 metres), a 1.75-metre high jump, and 7.28-sec 60-metre dash. At the end of the afternoon, Bryant rounded off proceedings in fine style with a rapid second leg of the 4 x 200-metre relay (21.9 secs).