ATHLETICS: She's a class act
12:30pm Friday 1st March 2013 in Latest Sport News
LOREN Bleaken knew nothing less than victory was required in the final of the U20 women’s 800m at the England Athletics Indoor Championships, writes KEVIN FAHEY.
Bleaken, 17, always puts pressure on herself to perform to her best – but in Birmingham there was an extra edge to the competition as she was being watched by four members of the teaching staff at Hardenhuish School.
Brendan Markey (former PE teacher at Hardenhuish), Stuart Hughes (head of PE), Elizabeth Fox (current PE teacher) and Mike Fennell (head of sixth form) had all made the trip north to watch her put on a show – and they were not disappointed.
Not only did she win in superb style, finishing three seconds clear of her rivals as she led from gun to tape, but she also she a new championship record of 2mins 6.78secs.
“A few races haven’t gone as well as I would have like this winter but I was really up for this event and, I did what I wanted to do, so I am very happy,” said Bleaken.
“It was nice to break the championship record of 2:06.91.
“I just missed the qualifying time of 2:06.5 for the European Junior Championships this summer but I’ll get that easily next time.
“I am just incredibly happy with that win.”
It is her second national title in a year as 12 months ago she won the U17 women’s title, albeit in a slightly quicker time of 2:06.75.
“Loren ran a far better race this year and was much more controlled,” said Adrian Clover, who is her coach at Team Bath AC.
Other noteworthy performances included fourth place for both Devizes School student Emily Hutchinson in the U17 women’s shot and Elise Gautlett, who lives in Box, in the U20 women’s pole vault.