BASILDON AC’s rising 800m talent Isobel Ives doesn’t want the track season to end.
The 16-year-old, who won a bronze medal at the English Schools Championships at the start of July, has been getting better and better as the summer wore on and last week struck gold at the under-17 English Championships.
Today she races in the UK School Games final in Manchester, hoping to add another medal to her collection and to attack the personal best she set last season.
“I feel good at the moment and training is going really well,” said Ives who has just started sixth-form at Cooper’s in Upminster.
“I was concentrating on my GCSE exams at the start of the year and it feels like I have peaked quite late this season, now I’m running out of time before the season ends!
“That happened to me two seasons ago when I was was injured at the start of the season and then ran a PB in my last race of the year.”
Ives’ win at the English Championships has given her confidence going into today’s race in Manchester.
She took the race by the scruff of the neck and led from gun to tape to finish in 2m 9.73s, her second fastest time of the season after the 2m 8.99s she ran at Watford a few weeks ago.
“I knew it was a bit of a risky tactic taking it out as Bedford is renowned for being windy, but it paid off.”
Ives won by a comfortable margin in the end and feels she was in good enough shape to have run much faster.
“I felt I was kicking in the final 100m and if I had people around me, challenging me, I felt like I could have run faster,” she said.
That all bodes well for her UK School Games final today which brings together the best athletes from all the Home Nations.
“I feel I am capable of doing really well, but it depends how the race pans out,” said Ives who finished sixth last year.
“Last year I had a bit of an injury and peaked a lot earlier in the season. My body was saying this was the end, but it’s such a great experience because it’s a multi-sport event and it’s a chance to mix and go and watch other sports.”
Ives is not the only south Essex athlete competing on the track at the School Games in Manchester today and not the only one to be going into the competition boosted by a gold medal.
Southend High School for Girls pupil Michelle Hughes added the gold medal she won at the English Schools Championships to the England Championships gold for the 300m hurdles.
Michelle Hughes (centre) on top of the podium. PIC: TONY BENTON
Hughes produced a fantastic run in her final at Bedford to record a new PB of 43.22s.
She then stepped down to the sprint hurdles and finished fifth in the 80m hurdles final in 11.62s.
Michael Shields, from Rayleigh, is the third south Essex athlete competing. The English Schools champion will be looking to add to his medal collection in the 100m hurdles final.
Basildon AC’s Matthew Hamilton also had a medal haul at the England Championships and will be going to UK School Games but not in athletics, as he will be competing in his other sport, track cycling.
Hamilton, who attends King John sixth form, won medals in Bedford in the ambulant 100m, 200m and javelin.
ADEBIYI, QUIGLEY AND WEBB ALL WIN MEDALS AT ENGLISH CHAMPS
THERE were several other outstanding performances from south Essex athletes at the England Under-15 and Under-17 Championships in Bedford.
Castle Point School’s Victor Adebiyi waited until the sixth and final round in the under-15 boys shot put before throwing 14.24m which won him a silver medal.
Also winning silver was FitzWimarc School’s Gabrielle Quigley who threw a huge new personal best of 37.38m in the under-15 girls discus to finish second. Quigley was also 11th in the shot put (10.58m).
Basildon AC’s Mason Webb had a brilliant run in the under-15 boys 3,000m final, knocking an incredible 23 seconds off his previous PB to win a bronze medal in 9m 10.59s.
In the under-17 men’s hammer Castle View School’s Levi Causton was fifth with 58.09m and Southend AC’s Billy Praim-Singh eighth with 54.49.
Southend High School for Boys’ Mosope Oyelola made the under-15 boys 800m final where he was eighth (2m 7.02s).
Sweyne Park School’s Laura Runciman was 13th in the under-15 girls hammer with 33.27m while Billericay’s Connie Forman was unable to get out of the under-15 girls 75m hurdles heats (12.34s).