Sprint and Hurdles News, 25-26 February

Sophie Yorke had yet another busy weekend in Sheffield this time competing in the England Athletics Open Age-Group Indoor Championships. On Saturday she began in fine style setting a new pb of 7.55s in her heat of the U20W 60m sprint before qualifying for the final by placing second in her semi-final with a 7.57s clocking. Her final time of 7.60s earned her 7th place in a field that included two Republic of Ireland athletes. That seemed to spur Yorke on in the 60m hurdles races the following day. The bronze medallist from the British Athletics Indoor Team Trials/Championships a fortnight beforehand stormed to a win in her heat setting a new pb of 8.37s but had to watch as the pre-event favourite Alicia Barrett set an all-time U20 record of 8.20s in another heat. Barrett was first up in the semis but frustratingly the trackside clock failed to show her time (later confirmed as a new UK age-group record of 8.19s). Yorke responded by dominating the second semi-final and lowering her pb further to 8.30s with the win, a time which places her fifth on the all-time U20W 60m hurdle rankings. The atmosphere for the final was electric as the four time English Schools’ champion and former U15 and U17 hurdles winner Barrett was drawn in the lane next to Yorke who only really took up hurdles seriously in 2014 as an U17. Yorke had a great start and led Barrett for two hurdles before the more experienced hurdler overtook her to win in 8.25s from Yorke’s 8.34s. However winning silver was a massive achievement for Yorke who had failed to qualify for the final in her first year as an U20 in 2015 and was one up on her bronze in the equivalent event in 2016. In the U17 age group fellow Harrier Abigail Williams, competing in her first national indoor championships, set a pb of 8.09s in finishing 5th in her 60m heat. In the 60m hurdles she knocked over 0.2s from her previous pb set just last week at the Birmingham Games. Her time of 9.25s finshing 5th was good enough to claim one of the fastest qualifiers spots in the semi where set a another new pb of 9.23s in finishing 6th.