Jewish Athletics 2017: Text versions January to May

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January 6

Rachel Ayrton and Eden Davis, both 17, began their year by setting indoor PB's at Lee Valley. Ayrton kept her footing through an overcrowded 800m to record 2:31.89 in the New Year Open, while Davis raced 60m in 6.94 at the Metaswitch Games.

At the end of last year, Lucie Wolfenden, 15, set indoor bests of 9.13 for 60m and 3.97m in the long jump in the Sale Harriers Open at Sportcity. Highgate Harrier Hannah Viner, 20, placed 13th in the Inter-counties Cross Country Championships at Oxford.

January 13

Richard Goodman, 23, and Hannah Viner, 20, faced tough opposition in the Middlesex senior cross-country Championships at Hillingdon. But they came away from hard-fought races with gold and silver medals respectively.

"I was nervous going into the race because I had spent a week in bed with flu during the holiday period," said Goodman. "Chris Smith of Thames Valley Harriers made it tough from the start; he is a world-class mountain runner. It was a struggle to break away on the second lap and made for a good workout," Goodman reflected. He had stretched his lead to 22s by the end of the 12 km course.

Viner's opposition in the 8 km women's race included the UK's fourth-ranked marathon runner, Tracy Barlow, also from Thames Valley. “I decided to take the race on from the start so I hit the front straight away,” Highgate Harrier Viner reported. “I felt good going up the first hill so I tried to build up a lead. By the time we came down the hill again I was 30m ahead of Barlow. But I have been nursing a slight hamstring niggle and it started to trouble me so I relaxed a bit. Barlow caught me on the steep incline on the second lap and then gradually built a lead. I just tried to keep her in sight to the finish.”

Other community placings in the Middlesex Championships included Maayan Radus, fourth in the U13’s; Rachel Ayrton, fifth in the U20’s; Matti Harris, 16th in the U15's; and Tal Pelmont, 18th in the U17's. Jessica Hurley placed sixth in the U17 event of the Hertfordshire County Championships.

Ellie Edwards, 20, began her season with a 60m heat victory in the Sale Harriers Open Meeting at Sportcity, recording 8.02 seconds.

March 3

Hannah Viner, 20, and Richard Goodman, 23, experienced contrasting fortunes at the sharp end of the English National Cross Country Championships at Nottingham. Viner placed 28th out of 788 competitors in the senior women's race, while Richard Goodman was forced to pull out of the senior men's event after suffering a serious spike wound.

Viner started hard in her 8km race to gain a good position. "As always the case with the Nationals, there was a fast start, and it was a tough race”, she commented. ”In some places the going was firm, but much of the course was boggy with some deep and wide ditches to wade through. I think I chose the right strategy, even though I lost a few places towards the end."

Goodman entered his race with realistic expectations of medalling. "I was in the leading group on the first full lap when I lost a shoe in the mud," he recounted. "I continued for another lap but was forced to take off the other shoe in order to balance my stride. Then a spectator shouted out that my ankle was bleeding and I needed to stop. I had been unaware of it, but the wound needed twelve stitches. I only hope that my enforced layoff proves to be a blessing in disguise."

Lia Radus, 15, and her sister Maayan, 12, had successful outings in the U15 and U13 events. Lia helped Blackheath & Bromley secure team bronze while Maayan led the club home to team gold medals.

March 10

In her first year competing in the senior race, Hannah Viner, 20, placed 28th out of 788 competitors in the English National Cross Country Championships at Nottingham.

Viner started hard in her 8km race to gain a good position. "As always the case with the Nationals, there was a fast start, and it was a tough race”, she commented. ”In some places the going was firm, but much of the course was boggy with some deep and wide ditches to wade through. I think I chose the right strategy, even though I lost a few places towards the end."

Sophie Dowson, 18, placed fifth in the England Athletics U20 pole vault Championships in Sheffield with a clearance of 3.60m. Eden Davis, now 18, narrowly missed a place in the 60m final.

James Bongart, 20, came within a metre of his javelin PB with a throw of 57.56m at the Loughborough Winter Throws meeting.

Rachel Ayrton, 17, set an indoor 800m PB of 2:30.93 in the Lee Valley Middle Distance Open.

Israeli participation in the European Indoor Championships at Belgrade ended after just 7.54 seconds. The country's only competitor, Diana Vaisman, was eliminated in her heat of the 60m despite coming close to her own national record of 7.50 seconds.

March 17

Roger Bruck, 77, brought his indoor season to a successful conclusion at the British Masters Championships at Lee Valley. Competing in the M75 category, Bruck took golds in the 200m, high jump and long jump, recording 35.78, 1.21m and 3.34m respectively. He also secured bronze in the 60m in 10.41. All four performances were season’s bests.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Maayan Radus, 12, represented Camden Borough to place fourth in the London Schools Year 8 Championships at Eltham.

James Bongart, 20, came within a metre of his javelin PB with a throw of 57.56m at the Loughborough Winter Throws meeting.

Rachel Ayrton, 17, set an indoor 800m PB of 2:30.93 in the Lee Valley Middle Distance Open.

Israeli participation in the European Indoor Championships at Belgrade ended after just 7.54 seconds. The country's only competitor, Diana Vaisman, was eliminated in her heat of the 60m despite coming close to her own national record of 7.50 seconds.

March 24

Hannah Viner, 20, recorded 34:50 in the Internacional Villa de Laredo 10K event in Spain, to move to the top of the UK U23 rankings. Highgate Harrier Viner placed eighth overall, achieving a 30 second PB.

Rachel Ayrton, 17, and Eden Davis, 18, came away from Lee Valley with county indoor championship gold medals. Ayrton, who competes for Harrow AC, took the Middlesex U20 800m title in 2:34.96, while Herts Phoenix sprinter Davis triumphed in the Hertfordshire U20 60m in 7.05. Both athletes are also coaches for Maccabi London Harriers.

March 31

Rachel Ayrton, 17, and Eden Davis, 18, came away from Lee Valley with county indoor championship gold medals. Ayrton, who competes for Harrow AC, took the Middlesex U20 800m title in 2:34.96, while Herts Phoenix sprinter Davis triumphed in the Hertfordshire U20 60m in 7.05. Both athletes are also coaches for Maccabi London Harriers.

April 14

The selection of Walter Nicholls as Chairman of the Amateur Athletics Association caps a sixty year career in the service of his sport. Manchester solicitor Nicholls follows in the distinguished footsteps of fellow Jews Harold Abrahams and Arthur Gold in heading up the world's oldest national athletics body.

Walter and his wife Marlene are members of the Sha'arei Hayim congregation of Didsbury, South Manchester. The couple have four children and nine grandchildren and are looking forward to celebrating 55 years of marriage in June.

Now 81, Nicholls joined his first athletics club, Manchester AC, at age 15, and has belonged to Trafford AC since its foundation in 1964. During his senior career, he represented Lancashire and Cheshire in the shot and his main event, the discus. He continued to compete until his mid-seventies, earning medals in the Northern and National Veteran Championships, and is hoping to resume training this year.

Nicholls began his career in athletics administration in 1958, officiating and timekeeping at athletics meetings. Nicholls lived in Israel for three years in the late 1960's, during which time he coached athletics at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and at the Hapoel Club in Haifa. He officiated in the 1969 Maccabia Games, and 20 years later was invited back as Chief Timekeeper for the 1989 Games. In the previous Maccabia in 1985, Nicholls had served as GB Athletics Team Manager.

Nicholls has served roles in Northern, England and Great Britain team selection and management throughout the last forty years. He has officiated at international matches and the Commonwealth Games and still officiates at athletics meetings in the North of England.

He was a Director of the British Association for Sport and Law and Secretary of the British Athletics Doping Committee for several years. He still chairs disciplinary panels for UK Athletics. Specialising in sports law in his professional life, he has acted in a number of high-profile doping cases. Together with Mel Watman, Nicholls is a member of the selection panel for the British Athletics Hall of Fame.

Nicholls takes over the Chairmanship role after several years serving as Secretary of the AAA. "Although UK Athletics has taken over from the AAA as the sport’s governing body, we remain very active", Nicholls commented. "We support events for young athletes across the country, such as the Marathon Relay in which two hundred teams of 11-to-13-year-olds competed last year. We see ourselves as the conscience of the sport and the custodians of its history, and I hope I can further that through the setting up a national museum of athletics."

April 21

Nottingham Trent University student James Bongart added almost 4m to his javelin PB when taking victory at the Lee Valley Open. His throw of 62.08m moved him to fourth in the UK U23 standings and tenth across all age groups.

Herts Phoenix sprinter Eden Davis, 18, won the 100m and placed second in the 200m in the Southern League Division 1 at Peterborough. His times were 10.9 and 22.4 respectively.

April 28

The Watford Open Graded Meeting enabled several young athletes to open their outdoor season with new personal bests. In the 800m trial races, Gilad Nachshen, 13, cut his time to 2:11.32 and Matti Harris, 14, improved to 2:17.55. Maayan Radus, 12, reduced her best by 14 seconds to 2:31.07 while older sister Lia Radus, 15, recorded 2:20.26. Rachel Ayrton, 17, improved her 400m PB to 66.19.

May 5

Richard Goodman, 24, made a satisfying return from injury to finish second Briton in the Great Birmingham 10K. Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier Goodman placed fourth overall in 30:28, a fine performance over a hilly course in windy conditions. The top places were taken by Kenyan Frankline Keitany, Timothy Toroitich of Uganda and Matt Clowes of Cardiff.

"I feel fully recovered from my bad spiking injury in February, and have enjoyed four good weeks of training in Portugal,” Goodman said. “Nevertheless I was nervous going into this first race. The wind and sharp turns made it difficult to close in on the leaders, and to achieve a fast time. But hopefully the outing will be a good stepping-stone to my next big race, the London 10,000 at the end of the month.”

Lia Radus, 15, and Gilad Nachshen, 13, achieved high placings in their respective races in the 3 mile London Mini Marathon Borough Challenge. Radus finished sixth in her age group in 17:37 while Nachshen placed ninth in 17:10.

Herts Phoenix sprinter Eden Davis, 18, gained a double victory in the Youth Development League at Medway Park, recording season's best times of 10.80 and 21.99 for the 100m and 200m.

Despite running with a viral infection, Shaftesbury Barnet's David Stone, 15, trimmed his 3000m personal best to 9:32, placing third in the Youth Development League at Norwich.

May 12

The latest Watford Open Graded Meeting provided the first opportunity of the season for community athletes to test their speed over 1500m. Maayan Radus, 12, achieved a 7 second PB of 5:01.90, while her sister Lia, 15, ran 4:49.40. Bini Bloom,13, and Matti Harris, 14, both dipped fractionally below 4:45.

Not previously reported, Maayan Radus placed fifth in the London Mini Marathon Borough Challenge, completing the 3 mile course in 18:01.

Hanna Viner, 20, placed ninth in the British Universities 5000m championship at Bedford, recording a personal best of 16:58.02. The high-quality race was won by international Jessica Judd in 15:55.40.

Pole vaulter Lucie Wolfenden, 15, opened her outdoor season with a win in the Youth Development League at Preston, clearing a height of 2.60m.

May 19

David Stone, 15, took a commanding victory in the U17 1500m in the Eastern Young Athletes League at Watford. Always in control of the race, he finished six seconds clear in a new PB of 4:26.8. Stone was one of several Jewish athletes who represented Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers successfully in the competition. Fellow JFS pupil Emma Taylor, 16, was the club "A" string competitor in the shot, hammer and javelin, and her respective performances of 8.96m, 24.26m and 30.55m earned her places in the national rankings for each of those events. Personal bests were set by Joel Alexander, 15 (high jump 1.55m); Adam Cahn, 15 (800m 2:12.3); Bini Bloom, 13 (1500m 4:41.3) and Gilad Nachshen (300m 40.4). Matti Harris, 14, ran a time of 4:42.6 for a near-PB in the 1500m.

Ellie Edwards, 20, took 200m silver in the senior Greater Manchester Championships, setting a personal best of 25.58 in spite of a strong headwind in the home straight. Her sister Allana, 17, improved her 400m hurdles best to 76.31 when finishing 8th in the U20 Championships.

Gilad Nachshen gained silver in the Middlesex U15 800m Championships in 2:13.19, while Tal Pelmont, 17, placed fifth in the U20 race in 2:13.50. Maayan Radus, 12, broke the five minute barrier for the first time when taking bronze in the U15 1500m event in 4:58.5.

Rosalind Zeffert earned a bronze medal in the senior long jump and fourth places in the 100m and shot put, proving that, now as a V55 athlete, she remains a talented and enthusiastic competitor.

May 26

Eden Davis,18, demonstrated fine form by setting a new 100m best of 10.60 at the Loughborough International Games. Davis commented "I have been training hard, particularly concentrating on the drive phase of my race. I felt relaxed going into this guest race of the competition. I finished third and am very happy with the result". Sophie Dowson, 18, scaled 3.65m for 10th place in the pole vault competition.

Brothers Adam and Joshua Fersht, pupils at Shoreham College, delivered top-class performances to medal in the Sussex County Championships. Adam, 14, took victory in the U15 800m in 2:08.29 while Joshua, 16, won silver in the U17 400m in 51.91. Both performances were personal bests.

Siblings Jessica and Greg Hurley likewise medalled in the Hertfordshire Championships, both taking silver over 400m. Jessica, 17, recorded 60.80 in the U20 event while Greg, 16, was timed at 57.80 in the U17 race.

Anna Barnett, 18, took silver in the Kent U20 discus competition with a season's best throw of 31.70m.

Rosalind Zeffert earned bronze in the Middlesex senior long jump and took fourth places in the 100m and shot put, proving that, as a V55 athlete, she remains a talented and enthusiastic competitor.

Maayan Radus, 12, took bronze against older competitors in the Middlesex U15 1500m in 4:58.5. She breached another barrier for the first time a few days later, recording 2:28.67 for 800m in the Watford Open Graded Meeting. In the same competition, Gilad Nachshen, 13, set a PB of 2:09.18 while Biny Bloom, also 13, recorded 2:20.31.

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