Jewish Athletics 2014: Text Versions June to December

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June 6

Maccabiah Junior gold medallist Ellie Edwards, 17, showed sparkling form to take the Greater Manchester Under 20 200m title at Macclesfield in a personal best time of 25.69. A delighted Edwards said, “This is the best I have felt in three years in terms of my fitness. If I stay injury free I can have a great season.”

Shaftesbury Barnet runner Judah Yawitch, a pupil at Beit Shvidler Primary School in Edgware, held his own against older competitors to take silver in the Middlesex Under 13 1500m championship at Lee Valley in 5:07.49.

June 13

Woodford Green and Essex javelin thrower James Bongart,17, again showed that he is one of the country’s top young field event athletes. Bongart took victory in Division 1 of the British Athletics League at Gateshead with a new personal best throw of 54.15m, raising him to 15th in the UK Under 20 rankings.

Jessica Hurley and Maayan Radus set personal bests, and Daniel Gubbay a season's best, in the London Inter Club Challenge event at Hendon. Hurley, 14, recorded 26.87 for 200m while her Shaftesbury Barnet team-mate Radus ran the mile in 6:08.45, one day after her tenth birthday. Gubbay, running as Barnet AC’s first string athlete, ran 400m in 54.78, his fastest time outside of last year's Maccabiah.

Roger Bruck, 74, took high jump and long jump gold and 100m bronze in the Southern Counties Veterans Championships M70 Division at Lee Valley. Bruck’s performances were respectively 1.20m, 3.52m and 16.94.

Ellie Edwards, 17, continued her fine run of form with a double victory over 100m and 200m in the UK Youth Development League at Stretford. Her times of 12.8 and 25.9 were both close to her best.

Richard Goodman was a clear victor in the Ickenham 5 Mile Race, recording 24:50, 6 seconds short of the record for the fast, flat course.

June 20

Yavneh College student Eden Davis, 15, has achieved the remarkable feat of qualifying for the England Schools Athletics Championships in his first year of serious competition. Up until three months ago, Davis had only ever raced in school sports days.

Competing in the Intermediate (Under 17) age group at the Hertfordshire Schools Championships, Herts Phoenix athlete Davis placed second in both the 100m (10.9) and 200m (22.6). Although both performances qualify for entry to the English Schools Championships taking place in Birmingham next month, Hertfordshire are likely to select Davis to contest the shorter event.

Davis said, “I was delighted with my 100m performance and amazed at the time. I actually suffered a hamstring pull 70m into the race, which probably cost me a tenth of a second. Luckily, the injury is healing up well. I really enjoy my athletics, and I have my PE Teacher Mr McLaughlin and my trainer Catherine Walker to thank for helping me to reach this level”.

June 27

George Grant, 16, raised his pole vault best by 15cm to 3.95m in placing fifth in the South of England Under 20 Championships at Crystal Palace. Grant was the youngest competitor in the field and his performance raises him to 12th in the national Under 17 rankings.

Philip Benson sliced three seconds from his 800m best to 1:58.8 to win his race in the Southern Athletics League at Harrow. Benson's Harrow AC team-mate Nick Davis achieved a season's best of 51.9 in placing second in his 400m event in the same match.

In schools county championships, Ellie Edwards, 17, won the Greater Manchester Senior 200m title in 25.8, while Jessica Hurley, 14, placed second in the Herts Junior 200m in 26.4. Both of these performances represent English Schools Championships entry standards. Rachel Ayrton, 14, gained bronze in the Middlesex Intermediate 800m in a new best of 2:34.70, while Rebecca Hurley, 16, also gained a new PB of 43.6 in the Herts Intermediate 300m.

Judah Yawitch, 11, improved his 1500m best to 5:05.48 in winning his race for Shaftesbury Barnet in the Eastern Young Athletes League at Hendon.

July 4

Lia Radus, 12, achieved a 1500m season's best of 5:11.79 for victory in the Eastern Young Athletes League at Hendon, while her younger sister Maayan, 10, recorded a PB of 5:42.39 over the distance at the same meeting.

Rebecca Hurley, 16, set personal bests in both the 200m (27.98) and the 300m hurdles (50.48) in the Youth Development League at Eton.

In only her second competition following several years away from the sport, Rosalind Zeffert set a Shaftesbury Barnet V50 long jump record of 3.90m in the Southern League at Hendon.

July 11

Lia Radus, 12, cut her 800m PB to 2:32.32 representing Shaftesbury Barnet in the London Inter-Club Challenge at Hendon.

Nathan Bloom, 15, also competing for Shaftesbury Barnet, recorded a season's best of 4:29.32 in winning his 1500m heat in the Open Graded Meeting at Watford.

Adam Muscat, 16, achieved a 200m PB of 25.11 and 100m season’s best of 12.21, competing for Harrow AC in the Youth Development League at Croydon.

July 18

Four Jewish athletes reached the finals of the English Schools Athletics Championships at Birmingham.

The highest placing athlete was Eden Davis, 15, who battled a headwind to place seventh in the Intermediate 100m in 11.11. His earlier two rounds had been faster, in more favourable wind conditions. Davis, who was representing Hertfordshire in the Championships, commented, "It feels good to get to the final in my first year of competition. I still have another year in the age group and hopefully I can develop and do even better next year."

Ellie Edwards, 17, represented Greater Manchester in the Senior Girls’ 200m, having contested the same event in both the Junior and Intermediate Championships in previous years. Edwards set a near-PB of 25.72 in the semi-final to win a place in the final, in which she finished eighth. She said afterwards, “I am so proud of my performance. It made all the hard training worthwhile. It’s pretty good for a small Jewish girl from Manchester to be mixing it with some of the real powerhouses!"

George Grant, competing for Hertfordshire, placed 10th in the Intermediate pole vault. Grant, 16, said, “My biggest aim of the season was to reach the English Schools finals, and I secured my place last month by setting a PB of 3.95m. I was determined to thoroughly enjoy the experience of the Championships, and I celebrated every clearance. I knew it was my big chance for a PB, and I gave it everything I had.” Grant achieved a new best of 4.00m, placing him 12th in the UK Under 17 rankings.

Sophie Dowson, representing Middlesex, cleared 3.10m to place 12th in the Girls’ Intermediate pole vault. Dowson, 15, said, “It was very exciting, competing in a big arena for the first time, but it made me quite nervous. I was slightly disappointed with my performance because I had set a PB of 3.31m the previous week. But I am still in the Intermediates next year, so hopefully I will be back and jumping higher!"

July 25

Sisters Maayan and Lia Radus are among the young Jewish athletes to improve their best performances in the Watford Open Graded Meeting series. Maayan Radus, 10, recorded a 1500m best of 5:33.88 to place third in the UK Under 11 rankings while her sister Lia, 12, cut her 800m and 1500m times to 2:31.10 and 5:10.98. Their Shaftesbury Barnet clubmates Jessica Hurley and Judah Yawitch also set 800m PBs at Watford. Hurley, 14, recorded 2:21.36 while Yawitch, 11, improved his best  to 2:27.56. Yawitch also took victory in the Eastern Young Athletes League at Stevenage with a new 1500m best of 5:02.9. Colette Hurley, mother of Jessica, moved to seventh in the UK V50 400m rankings by recording 69.24 at Watford.

Sophie Dowson, 15, took victory in the Saucony Hampshire Grand Prix at Basingstoke, with a pole vault clearance of 3.20m. Fellow English Schools’ finalist George Grant, 16, was the youngest pole vault competitor in the Southern Counties Senior Inter Counties match at Mile End. Grant cleared 3.80m for second place in the B event.

Anna Barnett, 15, improved her discus best to 31.69m when placing fourth in the Southern Counties Inter County match at Portsmouth. This performance moves her to 36th in the UK Under 17 rankings.

Allana Edwards, 14, recorded 50.27 in winning the 300m hurdles event in the Trafford Grand Prix at Stretford.

Roger Bruck made his mark in his first competition within the V75 age group. Competing for Barnet & District in the Southern Counties Veterans League, Bruck achieved a long jump season’s best of 3.55m, placing him fourth in the V75 national rankings. Bruck also took three silver medals (high jump, long jump and relay) at the Masters Inter Area competition in Solihull.

August 1

Less than a month after his 75th birthday, Roger Bruck is already the Southern Counties V75 record holder in both the high jump and long jump.

Bruck began his assault on the record books with a season’s best long jump of 3.55m, competing for Barnet & District in the Southern Counties Veterans League. Bruck followed this up by taking three silver medals (high jump 1.21m, long jump 3.44m, relay) at the Masters Inter Area competition in Solihull. As a result of these performances, Bruck stands third in the UK V75 high jump rankings and fourth in the V75 long jump rankings.

English Schools’ finalist George Grant, 16, was the youngest pole vault competitor in the Southern Counties Senior Inter Counties match at Mile End. Grant cleared 3.80m for second place in the B event.

Anna Barnett, 15, improved her discus best to 31.70m with a victory in the Blackheath & Bromley Open Meeting. This performance moves her to 37th in the UK Under 17 rankings.

Rachel Ayrton, 14, improved her 800m best to 2:34.4 with a victory in the B race in the Southern Athletics League at Luton.

August 8

Philip Benson, 21, broke the two-minute barrier for 800m for the second time, recording 1:59.4 for victory in the Southern Athletics League at Herne Hill. Benson competes for Harrow AC and recently graduated from Plymouth University.

Herts Phoenix sprinter Eden Davis, 15, scored a double victory in the Youth Development League at Walthamstow. English Schools’ 100m finalist Davis took the 100m A race in 11.1 and the 200m B event in 23.1.

Orli Edwards, 11, gained her place in the national Under 13 javelin rankings with a throw of 17.16m, competing for Trafford in the Youth Development League at Crewe.

Jessica Hurley, 14, placed 6th in the South of England Under 15 800m Championships at Hendon, recording 2:25.93.

August 15

Roger Bruck took one gold and two silver medals in the M75 division of the British Masters Championships at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham. Bruck struck gold with his high jump clearance of 1.18m, the event having been moved indoors because of bad weather. He missed a further gold in the long jump by just 2 cm, taking the silver with a season's best of 3.77m.  Barnet all-rounder Bruck also achieved season’s bests in both sprints, taking silver in the 200m in 33.27 and placing fourth in the 100m in 15.86.

Jennifer Simmons tested her recovery from a long-standing back and hamstring injury by contesting the 400m hurdles in the North of England League at Blackburn. Sale Harrier Simmons gained a clear victory in 68.2.

English Schools’ finalist Sophie Dowson, 15, was the youngest pole vault competitor in the South of England Under 20 Championships at Hendon. Dowson placed fifth with a clearance of 3.10m.

August 22

Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier Lia Radus, 12, recorded a near-PB of 5:11.7 for 1500m in placing second in the Eastern Young Athletes League at Bedford.

Rachel Ayrton, competing for Harrow AC, celebrated her 15th birthday by setting two personal bests in the Southern Athletics League at Hemel Hempstead. Ayrton recorded 69.4 for 400m and 87.7 for 400m hurdles, placing second in the B event in both races.

August 29

Four young Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers recorded near-PB’s for 800m at the Watford Open Graded Meeting. Jessica Hurley, 14, recorded 2:22.57 while her sister Rebecca, 16, ran the event for the first time in 2:30.93. Judah Yawitch, 11, achieved 2:30.64 while Lia Radus, 12, was a quarter second shy of her best with 2:31.34.

Sisters Lia and Maayan Radus both ran 5K parkruns on two successive weeks, with Lia setting a personal best of 19:35 and Maayan, 10, recording 22:03. Lia ranks 19th in the UK Under 13 parkrun list while Maayan stands 12th in the UK Under 11 list.

September 5

Maayan Radus, 10, moved to third in the UK Under 11 1500m rankings with time of 5:31.61 at the Watford Open Graded Meeting, where three of her Shaftesbury Barnet teammates also set new personal bests. Maayan’s sister Lia, 12, improved by more than eight seconds to 5:02.35, and now stands at 16th on the national list. Judah Yawitch, 11, recorded 4:59.56 while Jack Bloom, 13, was timed at 4:54.40.

At the same meeting, Colette Hurley posted 68.75 for 400m to place 8th on the UK V50 list. Rachel Ayrton, 15, fresh from her gold medal performances in the JCC Games in America, set a new 400m best of 67.82.

September 12

Shaftesbury Barnet pole vaulter George Grant gained an impressive victory in the UK Youth Development League National Final, a competition matching the eight most successful clubs in the country. Grant’s clearance of 3.95m was the second highest of his career so far, and he took victory despite being the only Under 17 competitor in the field. In the Girls competition, Anna Barnett, 15, represented Blackheath & Bromley in the shot, discus and hammer, placing second in the discus with a throw of 29.79m.

Visually impaired athlete Zac Shaw, 18, enjoyed a successful debut in national level competition by placing second in both the 100m and 200m at the Sainsbury's UK School Games in Manchester. Running against a headwind in both events, his times were 11.90 and 24.08 respectively. Grimsby athlete Shaw was first to break the tape in the 100m, and his silver medal placing was on the basis of the differing allowances accorded to the various disability sport classifications.

September 19

Lia Radus,12, broke the Shaftesbury Barnet Under 13 club record in winning the 1500m in the Eastern Young Athletes League Plate Final at Ipswich. Her time of 4:59.5 places her 12th in the UK Under 13 rankings. Tackling the same distance in the Boys Under 13 division, fellow Shaftesbury Barnet athletes Judah Yawitch,11, and Matti Harris recorded 5:04.1 and 5:14.7 respectively.

Competing midweek at the Watford Open Graded Meeting, Radus, Yawitch and Jack Bloom, 13, each improved their PBs for 800m. Their respective times were 2:30.34, 2:26.36 and 2:23.10.

Sophie Dowson recorded a pole vault clearance of 3.20m for eighth place in the England Athletics Under 17 Championships at Bedford.

Roger Bruck, 75, brought his season to an end with age-group victories in the high jump and long jump at the Southern Counties Veterans AC Final at Ashford. His marks were 1.15m and 3.46m respectively.

October 3

Lia Radus produced a storming anchor leg to put Shaftesbury Barnet amongst the medals in the Under 13 Southern three-stage road relays in Aldershot. Starting her leg in 11th place, Radus moved through the field to secure bronze medals for the team. Her split time of 8:15 for 2.291 km was fourth fastest amongst more than 230 runners.

"I really enjoyed the run. It was a nice course, the running conditions were ideal and I pushed hard all the way," Radus said. "This run gives me a lot of confidence going into the cross country season."

Allana Edwards, 15, placed fourth in the Cheshire Under 17 Pentathlon Championships. Her points score of 2178 places her 41st in the national rankings.

October 3

Deena Kastor demonstrated her return to top form by setting a world masters record in the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. The 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medallist placed third in 1:09:37, less than a minute behind Aberu Kebede of Ethiopia and Caroline  Rotich of Kenya. Kastor’s time beat the previous Over 40 best by 19 seconds.

Kastor, 41, said, "I was certainly aiming to beat the record. But it wasn't as comfortable as I had hoped. I got a side stitch at six miles, and so slowed down a bit to try to breathe it out. I pushed through the pain and tried to stay on world record pace. The final kilometres were a real struggle. I kept doing the sums: Am I on for the record, or not? Do I give up, or do I dig deep? But you don't get many chances at this age. I dug down and was able to get inside the time."

October 17

Lia Radus promoted Shaftesbury Barnet Under 13 girls from 21st to 7th place in the course of her 3.9 km middle stint of the National Young Athletes three-stage Road Relays at Birmingham. Shaftesbury Barnet eventually finished 12th out of 49 full teams. Jessica Hurley, Jack Bloom and Judah Yawitch also gave good service to Shaftesbury Barnet in other age groups.

October 24 (not published)

Lia Radus led off Shaftesbury Barnet Under 13 Girls into third place in the three-stage South Eastern Athletics Association cross-country relays at Wormwood Scrubs. The squad eventually finished fourth out of 43 teams. Radus’ time of 7:48 over the 2000m course was sixth fastest amongst the 123 competitors.

October 31 - JC Legend

The late Sir Arthur Gold (1917 – 2002) has become the fourth Jewish inductee into the British Athletics Hall of Fame. His son Jonathan was presented with the award earlier this month by fellow inductee, athletics historian and journalist Mel Watman.

Arthur Gold earned his living as the owner of a motor garage in North London, but he gave a lifetime's unpaid service to the sport of athletics. As a competitor in the immediate pre-war years, he was the second best high jumper in the country, with a personal best of 1.90m when the British record was 1.95m. He turned to coaching after the war, helping Dorothy Tyler switch high jump technique from scissors to western roll. Tyler had already won Olympic high jump silver medals in 1936 and 1948, and the new technique allowed her to extended her medal winning career.

Arthur Gold went on to become one of the world’s most respected athletics administrators, knighted for services to athletics in 1984. He served as Honorary Secretary of the British Amateur Athletics Board from 1965 to 1977 and led the British athletics teams at the Mexico, Munich and Montreal Olympics. He was chairman of the Commonwealth Games Council for England from 1979 to 1990, in which role he led English teams for three Commonwealth Games. His highest appointment within the sport was to serve as president of the European Athletics Association from 1976 to 1987. In 1992, as chairman of the British Olympic Association, he was commandant of the entire team at the Winter and Summer Olympics. In 1995, he was elected president of the Amateur Athletics Association.

Gold was a passionate fighter against drug-taking throughout his administrative career. He served as Chairman of the Sports Council Drug Abuse Advisory Committee and the European Sports Confederation Drug Abuse Advisory Group, and vice-chairman of the Council of Europe's committee on doping in sport. He believed that effective testing and life bans were the necessary deterrents against drug cheating.

The early 1980s saw athletics evolve from a pseudo-amateur to a professional sport. Sir Arthur Gold fought to prevent over-commercialisation tarnishing the sport and its capacity for enhancing the well-being and happiness of young people.

Gold was always immaculately dressed. But his conventional appearance belied his more quirky side, better illustrated by his 1960 book, "Ballet Training Exercises for Athletes".

When Sir Arthur Gold died 12 years ago, Brendan Foster made this fitting tribute: "He did a professional job for countless years for athletics on an amateur, unpaid, basis. When the sport finally turned totally professional he helped guide the important changes through. His knowledge of the sport was unbelievable and his enthusiasm for athletics unmatchable.”

November 21

Richard Goodman returned to top flight international competition as part of a four-strong England team in the Atapuerca International cross country race in Burgos, Spain. St Mary’s Twickenham student Goodman completed the 10 km course in 32nd position in 30:07, placing inside the top quarter of the field. The race was dominated by athletes from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Eritrea.

Goodman said, "I have been training well over the last three months following a niggling ankle injury earlier in the year. This first race back was one to blow out the cobwebs. The course was flat and the pace was relentlessly fast, but it was great experience to race against world-class athletes like the winner, Imane Merga of Ethiopia". Goodman’s next competitive outing will be the European cross country trials in Liverpool at the end of the month.

November 28

Maayan Radus headed the girls and beat all but four of the boys in the Under 11 combined boys and girls race in the Metropolitan Cross Country League at Stevenage. 98 runners completed the event. Older sister Lia Radus placed second in the girls’ Under 13 race. Maayan and Lia placed fourth and ninth respectively in their cross country races in the London Youth Games at Parliament Hill.

Jessica Hurley, 15, and her mother Colette each set personal bests in the Oak Hill (5 km) Parkrun. Their times were 20:24 and 23:11, the latter being the fastest veteran performance of the day.

December 5

Lia Radus sprinted to a narrow victory in the Under 13 race of the North West London Young Athletes’ League at Trent Park. Younger sister Maayan Radus placed third in the under 11 event.

After winning the 5km Hampstead Heath Parkrun in 15:32, almost 2 minutes clear of the field, Richard Goodman suffered a week of feeling below par. He did not complete the European cross country trials.

December 19

For the second time in a month, Richard Goodman was two minutes clear of the field in winning the Hampstead Heath 5k Parkrun in 15:36. Goodman is ranked sixth in the UK Under 23 list in this event.

December 26

Brothers Gabe and Judah Yawitch both gained victories for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers in the Metaswitch Indoor Games at Lee Valley. Gabe, 14, won his 60m event in 8.23 while Judah took the Under 13 800m race in 2:29.23.

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