Jewish Athletics 2015: Text Versions January to May

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January 2

Young athletic talent was in such plentiful evidence this year that four athletes have been chosen to receive the 2014 Daniel Sacks Award for Outstanding Young Athletic Achievement. These winners are Herts Phoenix sprinter Eden Davis, Shaftesbury Barnet middle-distance runner Lia Radus and pole vaulters Sophie Dowson (Harrow) and George Grant (Shaftesbury Barnet).

In his first ever competitive outing outside of school sports days, Yavneh College student Davis, 15, placed third in the Hertfordshire Under 17 indoor 60m Championship. Three months later he placed second in both the 100m and 200m in the county outdoor championships, recording the excellent times of 10.9 and 22.5 respectively. Selected to represent Hertfordshire in the 100m in the English Schools Championships, Davis progressed to place seventh in the final.

"My first year as an athlete went pretty well despite some injuries along the way", reflected Davis. “To compete in the English Schools at Birmingham, on one of the greatest tracks in the country, was like a dream come true."

Placing second in the Middlesex Under 13 1500m Championship in May, Lia Radus continued to improve over 800m and 1500m over the course of the summer. Radus set significant personal bests in both events in her final races of the season. Her 1500m time of 4:59.5, set in winning the Eastern Young Athletes League Plate Final, promoted her to 12th in the UK Under 13 rankings. Radus also gave outstanding service to her club during the road relay and cross country seasons.

Radus said, "I am pleased and honoured to receive the award. I was really happy with my season, and ending it on a high with a club 1500m record has given me confidence for the cross country races ahead."

George Grant, 16, started the year with a pole vault best of 3.51m and an ambition to qualify for the English Schools Championships. He achieved qualification with a clearance of 3.95m just hours before the deadline and then raised his best to 4.00m in the English Schools Final. His season’s highlights also included winning the Middlesex Under 17 title and the Youth Development League National Final.

Grant reflected, "I had a fantastic experience in the English Schools Championships as part of the high calibre Hertfordshire team. I will continue working on my technique in the coming year and aim to qualify for the AAA Junior Championships."

Sophie Dowson,15, also took the Middlesex Under 17 pole vault title and reached the final of the English Schools Championships, where she cleared 3.10m. She ended the season ranked 13th among UK Under 17 vaulters, with a best of 3.31m.

Dowson said, "This has been my first year competing seriously and I am surprised and honoured to win the Award. I am so grateful to have represented Middlesex at the English Schools finals and I hope to compete there again next year."

It was a year of solid progress for most of the community’s established young athletes. James Bongart (javelin), Jessica Hurley (300 m) and Ellie Edwards (200 m) all won county titles in their respective age groups. Judah Yawitch took silver in the Middlesex Under 13 1500m while still in primary school, while Anna Barnett placed third in the Kent Under 17 discus and fourth in the hammer. Ellie Edwards took 200m gold, Jessica Hurley 200m silver and Rachel Ayrton 800m bronze in their respective Schools County Championships.

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.

Richard Goodman’s track season was blighted by a niggling ankle injury. Earlier in the year, however, the Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier enjoyed a spectacular season over cross country. In his first four races of the year, Goodman, 21, won the South of England and the British Universities Championships, placed a close second in the English National Championships and won the Inter-Counties Championship. In his return to competition in November, Goodman was again representing England in an international cross country competition in Spain.

Another athlete whose season was blighted by injury was last year’s Award winner David Stone, 12. After narrowly losing out to the country's fastest young distance runner in the Middlesex cross country championships in January, Stone lost the entire season to a serious knee injury. Stone has now resumed a gradual training programme under orthopaedic supervision.

Demonstrating that athletics is a sport for all ages, Maayan Radus, 10, and Roger Bruck, 75, were both prolific and successful competitors. Radus took victory in the Hertfordshire Under 11 cross country championships and was positioned third in the UK Under 11 1500m rankings. Bruck, within weeks of entering the M75 age group, was already Southern Counties M75 record holder in the high jump and long jump. He went on to take one gold and two silver medals in the M75 British Masters Championships.

January 16

In the absence of a Middlesex race for the appropriate age group, Finchley resident Maayan Radus ran as a guest, and broke the tape to win, the Hertfordshire Under 11 cross country championship. It was the second successive victory in this event for the City of London schoolgirl. “The course was hilly, muddy and icy, and run in cold and foggy conditions,” Radus reported. “I ran from the front and used the first hill to open up a gap. The next hill was harder but I felt comfortable and I was able to attack the downhill finish to secure the race win.”

Meanwhile older sister Lia Radus, who also attends City of London School, placed third in the Middlesex Under 13 race. She likewise faced testing conditions. “It was a very wet day and the Alexandra Park course was muddy and water-logged,” she said. “Four of us were together in the front on the first lap but two broke away from me one lap later. Around 300m from the finish I was able to forge ahead of the girl who had been running with me to finish third quite comfortably”.

Judah Yawitch, fourth in the Under 13 race, and Rebecca Hurley, 8th in the Under 17’s, were also notable performers in the Hertfordshire cross country championships.

January 23

Sisters Maayan and Lia Radus won the Under 11 and Under 13 races respectively in the Metropolitan Cross Country League at Horsenden Hill, Perivale. Maayan also beat all but one of the boys in what was a combined race.

George Grant, 16, began his season placing eighth in the South of England indoor pole vault championship at Lee Valley, with a clearance of 3.80m.

Judah Yawitch placed fourth in the Under 13’s and Rebecca Hurley 8th in the Under 17’s in the Hertfordshire cross country championships.

January 30

Harrow AC pole vault specialist Sophie Dowson, 16, equalled her personal best by scaling 3.31m in the Vault Cardiff competition.

Lia Radus placed 20th in the South of England Under 13 cross country championships at Brighton.

February 6

Richard Goodman expressed his satisfaction with his fourth place finish in the British Universities Cross Country Championships at Brighton. Staying with the leading group until the last 500m, Goodman finished 12 seconds behind winner Jonathan Hay. Goodman won the event last year, with Hay in second place.

"I wasn't expecting to run well", Goodman said. "By December I recognised that I was suffering from fatigue brought on by overtraining. I now know that ultra high mileage does not suit me and that my focus should be on quality instead. I took some time off over the New Year period and resumed training three weeks ago. I now feel in a good position for the National Championships later this month."


Harrow AC pole vault specialist Sophie Dowson, 16, added 5 cm to her personal best by clearing 3.36m in the London Indoor Games at Lee Valley. Competing for Shaftesbury Barnet in the same competition, George Grant, 16, set a set a season's best vault of 3.86m.

February 13

Lia Radus took her second successive Under 13 victory in the Metropolitan Cross Country League at Wormwood Scrubs. Also for the second successive time, her younger sister and Shaftesbury Barnet club-mate Maayan Radus was fastest girl in the Under 11 race. Maayan also took victory in the Under 11 race of the North West London Young Athletes League at Harrow, while Sophie Peters (Harrow AC) placed second in the Under 13 event. Both girls led their clubs to team victory.

Richard Goodman placed fifth in the third race of this year’s British Athletics Cross Challenge, held in Milton Keynes. The final race of the series, taking place in Birmingham next month, will also serve as the Inter-Counties Championship, a title that Goodman won last year.

February 20

Harrow AC pole vault specialist Sophie Dowson added a massive 16 cm to her lifetime best by scaling 3.52m for victory at the Brunel Jumps and Throws Festival. Dowson is now third in the UK Under 17 rankings for this year, and her mark was beaten by only five girls in the age group throughout 2014. Dowson trains with the West London Pole Vault group, along with George Grant, the country’s leading Jewish male vaulter. Both are coached by England Athletics National Coach Ellie Spain.

"I was delighted to achieve that height," Dowson said. "It boosts my confidence for the National Championships in Sheffield at the end of this month."

March 6

Richard Goodman placed 31st out of the 2005 finishers in the Senior Men's English Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill, recording 41:20 for the hilly and muddy 12 km course. Jewish competitors in other age groups included Lia Radus, 113th, and Sophie Peters, 220th,  out of 433 finishers in the Under 13 girls’ race, Tal Pelmont, 180th in the Boys’ Under 15s, and Rachel Ayrton, 202nd in the Girls’ Under 17’s.

Lia Radus, 13, was the fastest female competitor in the Oak Hill 5km Parkrun. She recorded 19:38 while her sister Maayan, 10, set a personal best of 21:00.

Eden Davis placed fifth in the 60m in the England Under 17 Indoor Championships at Sheffield, one day before his 16th birthday. His time of 6.98 also places him fifth in the UK Under 17 rankings. Ellie Edwards, 18, set a personal best of 8.06 over 60m in the Sale Harriers Open Meeting at Sportcity.

Sophie Dowson moved to fourth in the UK Under 17 pole vault rankings with a lifetime best of 3.53m in the Vault London event at Carshalton.

March 13

Barnet and District veteran Roger Bruck struck gold in the 200m and silver in the 60m in the British Masters Indoor Athletics Championships at Lee Valley. His times were 34.63 and 10.13 respectively. It was a remarkable return to competition for Bruck, still badly bruised from a fall four weeks previously which had resulted in a night in hospital suffering from concussion.

Sophie Dowson, representing Harrow AC, placed sixth in the pole vault at the Under 17 Indoor English Athletics Championships at Sheffield. Just three vaulters bettered Dowson’s 3.50m clearance.

Shaftesbury Barnet runner Lia Radus placed 48th out of 305 competitors in the Under 13’s Inter Counties Cross Country Championships in Birmingham.

March 20

Eden Davis was a double medallist in the Hertfordshire Under 17 Indoor Championships at Lee Valley, taking gold in the 200m (23.15) and silver in the 60m (7.10). The Yavneh College student’s performances would in fact have won gold in both events in any other age group. Jessica Hurley secured bronze in the Girls’ Under 17 400m (61.05).

Rachel Ayrton placed second in the Under 17 800m (2:36.82) in the Middlesex Indoor Championships, likewise held at Lee Valley. George Grant also took silver, in the Under 20 pole vault (3.60 m). Philip Benson placed third in the senior 1500m (4:08.88) and Daniel Gubbay took bronze in the Under 20 400m (56.82).

March 27

David Stone, 13, signalled his return to near-full fitness with two victories over measured 5 km courses. Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier Stone recorded 18:06 in the Starfish Breakfast Run at Clapham Common and 18:12 in the Windsor, Eton and Slough "Hot Chocolate" race, completing both events around a minute clear of the field. The races mark Stone’s return to competition after more than one year sidelined by severe knee problems.

Philip Benson placed third in the senior 1500m (4:08.88) and Daniel Gubbay took bronze in the Under 20 400m (56.82) in the Middlesex Indoor Championships at Lee Valley.

April 3

Richard Goodman led Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers to a two minute victory in the Southern Men's 12-stage Road Relays at Milton Keynes. Goodman’s time of 23:19 for the 7664 m "long" leg was the second fastest of the day amongst almost 300 competitors, and only beaten by the 23:18 clocking of fellow St Mary's University student John McDonnell.

Previously, Goodman had finished second to international 1500 metre specialist Charlie Grice in the Richmond Elite Mile, contested over a rather unusual grass course featuring several 360 degree turns.

Maayan Radus gained a clear victory in the final race of the season of the Under 11 North West London Cross Country League at Wormwood Scrubs.

April 10

Rebecca Hurley has won the borough-wide Welwyn & Hatfield School Pupil of the Year Award 2015, to add to the ever-growing trophy collection of a remarkable sporting family. Rebecca, 16, and her siblings Jessica, 15, and Greg, 14, are unusually talented in several sports, while their mother Colette is a national standard middle-distance runner. Proud husband and father Philip, himself a fine sportsman, tragically died last year.

Rebecca and Jessica both compete over sprints and middle distances for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, under the guidance of coach Jeremy Sothcott. Both girls are Sports Scholars at Queenswood School in Hertfordshire, where Rebecca also won the Sports Scholar Ambassador Award last year. Of her latest award, Rebecca explained, “I was nominated by my school for services and achievements in sport. These included representing Herts in cross-country in the National Inter-Counties and the English Schools Championships, and helping the school to win the County hockey Championship.”

Jessica, like her sister, has attained county standard in each of gymnastics, hockey, swimming and cross-country. Particularly strong over the 300m track distance, Jessica is the U15 Herts County Champion and record holder as well as Shaftesbury Barnet U15 record holder. Her ambition is to compete at the English Schools’ Track & Field Championships.

Greg, unsurprisingly, also competes for Shaftesbury Barnet, his events including sprints, javelin and cross-country. The St Albans School pupil also enjoys football, cricket, rugby, tennis and swimming. Some years ago, Greg won the Herts U9 25m freestyle championship. “However”, he says, “my favourite sport is golf. I won the Herts County U14 Championship and the Bishops Stortford Junior Open 2013, and my ambition is to turn professional.”

Like her children, PE teacher Colette is deeply committed to athletics, as both a competitor and a mentor. As a senior, she represented Hertfordshire many times and competed in qualifying championships for World, Olympic, European and Commonwealth Games as well as in two Maccabiah Games. Her lifetime best 800m was 2:08.6. She was the UK top ranked V40 Master over 400m in 2005 and was British Masters 400m Indoor Champion, as well as placing third in the European Masters and eighth in the World Masters Indoor Championships. She is now the U17 & U20 Shaftesbury Barnet Women’s Team Manager for the Youth Development League. “I came back into competitive athletics last year and reached a UK V50 ranking of seventh for 400m”, she says. “I am still with my coach Bryan Smith with whom I have been training since I was nine years old and I can’t thank him enough for all his support over the years.”

Three weeks ago, almost every pupil of Queenswood School participated in the first ever Hurley Cup for Inter-House Cross-Country, instituted in memory of Philip. Rebecca and Jessica set the fastest times. Colette says, “Phil was an extremely proud father and husband and went to watch us at as many sports events as possible. In his teens he was a national swimmer and was ranked second in the UK for U17 Butterfly. He was an ardent golfer and during his lifetime he achieved a handicap of 5.7. He was waiting for Greg to dip below this – but it was something that Greg achieved soon after Phil died.”

April 17

With the outdoor track season now underway, Eden Davis, 16, and David Stone, 13, have lost no time in establishing their places near the top of the national rankings.

Herts Phoenix sprinter Davis recorded 10.97 for 100m in the Lee Valley Open Meeting, for third place in the UK U17 list. This followed a 100m victory and 200m second place in the Herts Phoenix Open Graded Meeting.

Middle distance specialist Stone led all the way to a clear victory in his 3000m heat at the Watford Open Graded Meeting. His 9:55.73 clocking places him seventh in the UK U15 division, and top amongst those who will still be in the division next year. Having now overcome serious knee problems and cold-weather asthma, his race was ideal preparation for the London Mini-marathon at the end of the month.

Also at the Watford Open Graded Meeting, Jack Bloom, 14, and Judah Yawitch, 12, set 1500m personal bests of 4:42.32 and 4:55.36 respectively. Lia Radus, 13, recorded 5:05.65 for a solid season opener.

Anna Barnett gained a discus victory and shot put second place in the Tonbridge AC Open Meeting, with marks of 27.23m and 9.40m respectively, while Philip Benson recorded 16:57 for a runaway victory in the Barnstaple 5K Parkrun.

April 24

On the first of the four weekends comprising the Southern Youth Development League calendar, Eden Davis, Sophie Dowson and Anna Barnett each secured Under17 ‘A’ event victories. Herts Phoenix sprinter Davis won both the 100m and 200m races at Ashford, in times of 10.95 and 22.44 respectively. He was only deprived of an official PB in the longer event by the marginally high wind reading of 2.2 m/s. Harrow AC pole vaulter Dowson cleared 3.20m for victory at her home track, while Anna Barnett, of Blackheath & Bromley, tossed the discus 29.63m to win at Stevenage. Jessica Hurley placed second in the 300m at Stevenage in 42.29, while Rachel Ayrton won the ‘B’ 800m at Harrow in 2:36.6.

Alana Edwards, 15, recorded 50.8 to win the 300m hurdles at the Wigan Harriers Spring Open Meeting, while her sister Ellie, 18, took the 200 m event in 27.2.

Rosalind Zeffert jumped to fourth in the UK V50 100 m rankings, recording 15.96 at the Highgate Harriers Open Meeting at Parliament Hill. Her son Simon, 19, a student at Durham University, has returned to the sport after two years’ absence to record personal bests of 11.74 for 100m and 23.76 for 200m.

May 1

Sophie Dowson, of Harrow AC, cleared 3.60m to win the Under 17 pole vault event in the Southern League at Eton. This new PB moves Dowson to fourth in the UK Under 17 rankings.

May 8

David Stone fought back after a difficult start to take a convincing victory in the Under 13 London Mini Marathon Borough Challenge. Completing the measured 3-mile course in 16:12, Stone was 28 seconds clear of his nearest rival in the 240-strong field. Stone’s achievement was all the more remarkable considering that knee problems had confined him to a wheelchair for much of last year. Lia Radus recorded 18:08 to place second in the girls’ Under 13 Borough Challenge, just one second behind winner Yasmin Marchini of Westminster. Stone and Radus led their Barnet teams to finish third and second respectively in the Borough Team Challenge. Other noteworthy Borough performers were: Judah Yawitch, 17th in U13 boys, 17:41; Jack Bloom, 28th in U15 boys, 17:00; Nathan Bloom, 16th in U17 men, 16:04; Jessica Hurley, 29th in U17 Women, 19:53; Rebecca Hurley, 42nd in U17 Women, 20:31.

Nathaniel Lane recorded 16:30 for a 21 second victory in the Cardiff 5K parkrun.

Allana Edwards, 15, lowered her 300m hurdles best to 49.3 in winning the B event for Trafford AC in the Youth Development League at Darlington.

Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier Matti Harris, 12, cut 10 seconds from his 1500m best, recording 5:04.3 for 2nd place in the Eastern Young Athletes’ League at Grays.

May 15

David Stone has again demonstrated that he is one of this country’s top young athletes by recording 9:39.67 for 3000m at the Watford Open Graded Meeting. This remarkable run means that Stone, 13, now heads the National rankings for his year group by almost half a minute.

Mother and daughter team Colette and Jessica Hurley both took age-group victories for 300m in the Hertfordshire County Championships at Stevenage. Jessica recorded 42.71 while Colette's 48.92 performance places her second in this year's V50 national list.

Two Shaftesbury Barnet youngsters have improved their 1500m bests in recent meetings. Judah Yawitch recorded 4:55.25 in the Watford Open Graded Meeting, while Matti Harris, also 12, placed 2nd in the Eastern Young Athletes’ League at Grays in a time of 5:04.3.

Allana Edwards, 15, lowered her 300m hurdles best to 49.3 in winning the B event for Trafford AC in the Youth Development League at Darlington.

Nathaniel Lane recorded 16:30 for a 21 second victory in the Cardiff 5K parkrun.

May 22

Trafford sprinter Ellie Edwards, 18, set lifetime bests for both 100m and 200m in the Youth Development League at Doncaster. 2013 Maccabia gold medallist Edwards placed second in both events, in 12.5 and 25.7 respectively.

Maayan Radus, 10, and Jack Bloom, 14, also achieved personal bests while earning useful points for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers in the Eastern Young Athletes’League at Braintree. Radus placed second in the ‘A’ 1500m in 5:25.1 while Bloom won the 800m ‘B’ event in 2:17.1.

Anna Barnett, 16, tossed the discus 31.11m for victory in the Youth Development League at Lee Valley, while Rachel Ayrton achieved a season's best 800m of 2:34.69 in winning the ‘B’ event in the Youth Development League at Reading.

Nathaniel Lane recorded 16:30 for a 21 second victory in the Cardiff 5K parkrun.

May 29

The three younger members of the Hurley family each won medals and set personal bests in the Hertfordshire Championships at Watford. Jessica took gold in the U17 400m in 59.29, which moved her to ninth in the UK U17 rankings. Rebecca won silver in the U20 400m hurdles in 71.64 while Greg took bronze in the U15 300m in 41.39. Eden Davis, 16, gained silver medals in two events, recording 10.99 in the 100m and a personal best of 22.37 in the 200m. Davis is now in the UK U17 Top 10 for both distances.

David Stone, 13, achieved a personal best 800m of 2:20.37 at the Watford Open Graded Meeting, despite being boxed in for much of the second lap. In the 400m event at the same meeting, Colette Hurley recorded 70.51 to move to 12th in the UK V50 rankings.

George Grant, 16 and Sophie Dowson, 16, each won their age group pole vault titles at the Middlesex Championships at Lee Valley. Their winning heights were 3.80m and 3.51m respectively. Tal Pelmont, 15, cut his 800m best to 2:14.18.

Anna Barnett placed second in both the shot and discus at the Kent U17 championships, recording distances of 9.22 m and 32.29 m respectively.

JFS student Emma Taylor,14, threw the javelin 26.64m in the Eastern Young Athletes’ League at Braintree, to enter the national U15 rankings.

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