Athletics Club Press Release
Inter-Varsity Challenge, NIA Birmingham, 8 February 2012
New Kids On The Blocks
Brunel University Athletics Club recently opened their Olympic-year campaign at the annual Inter-Varsity Challenge in Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena. The Brunelians competed against the four other leading athletics universities in the UK – Loughborough, Bath, UWIC and Birmingham – finishing second overall to archrivals Loughborough. The event was notable for the number of athletes who wore Brunel colours for the first time and made their mark with outstanding wins.
The neophytes were set a glittering example by third-year Mathematics student and Sport Scholar André Wright (pictured) who stormed to an emphatic victory in the ‘A’ 200 metres with a time of 22.09 secs and came second in the ‘A’ 60 metres with a scorching 6.93 secs that equalled the winner’s time. The Harry King-coached athlete said afterwards that “the team were really passionate about performing well today” and that his goal is now to dip under 10.50 secs for the 100 metres at the BUCS outdoor championships which will be the test event for the athletics competition at the London Olympiad.
Also in winning form was 19-year-old Efekomo Okoro who strode to a comfortable victory in the 400 metres with a time of 50.44 secs. The Biological Sciences undergraduate who is coached by Simon Duberley also won a guest 60-metre race in a useful 7.25 secs. Decathlete Ashley Bryant continued his preparations for the Olympic Games with a string of impressive performances that spanned the long jump (2nd, 6.88 metres), pole vault (4th, 4.31 metres), 60-metre hurdles (2nd, 8.30 secs) and guest 60 metres (2nd 7.24 secs). The Sport Scholar performed very close to his PBs across all events and his coach Ian Grant said afterwards “Ashley’s had a really good first part of the winter and this has set things up well for the summer.”
The women’s team was led from the front by the indefatigable Club Chair Ellie Newman who secured a win in the first event of the afternoon, the high jump, with a clearance of 1.68 metres. Debutante Zara Asante, a law student, secured first place in the triple jump with 11.84 metres but was closely matched by teammate and fellow debutante Alessandra Pace who soared to 11.79 metres. Pace, who is aiming to compete for Malta in the Olympic Games, also contested the long jump in which she came third with a creditable 5.42 metres. Completing a triumvirate of debutantes, Psychology student Laura Butcher took the honours in the pole vault with an effort of 3.00 metres.
Multi-eventer Jo Rowland hit inspired form and recorded a string of personal best performances. These included a 1.64-metre high jump that gave her victory in the ‘B’ string, 25.71 secs in the ‘A’ 200 metres in which she came third, and 9.16 secs in the ‘B’ 60-metre hurdles which saw her finish second (=PB). The Sport Scholar also came second in the ‘A’ shot putt with a distance of 12.16 metres.