News report on the Big Day Out at Bedford
B.A.L Big Saturday Lives up to its Name.
The British Athletics League`s first ever "Big Saturday" took place on July 15th and,it is fair to say,certainly lived up to its name. The 38 best men`s track and field clubs in the country met at the same venue on the same day, making the event the biggest track and field league fixture ever staged in the UK. While the challenge to keep to the ambitious timetable was not met, the overwhelming feedback from athletes was that the day was a success,as it provided a competitive atmosphere and some outstanding competition.
From a team perspective,the winning clubs were Birchfield Harriers (Premiership), Sale Harriers Manchester (National 1), Herne Hill Harriers (National 2), Havering AC (National 3) and Trafford AC (National 4),with the Birmingham-based Premiership leaders taking home the Bubba Trophy, kindly donated by Allen and Foxworthy Ltd, for the highest scoring team on the day.
Throughout the long day there were some excellent individual performances, including a league record of 8:04:25 in the 3km in Div 1 by Phil Sesemann (Blackheath and Bromley) and a Nat 3 record of 10.48 in the 100m by Ronnie Wells of Yeovil Olympiads. As was to be expected, the Premiership also provided some superb racing, with local Joel Fearon clocking 10.28 in the 100m for Birchfield and a ding dong battles in the 400m and triple Jump,In the former, Rabah Yousif ( Newham ) edged out Sadam Kumir (Birchfield) in 46.19, while Tosin Oke (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) prevailing over Nonso Okolo (Shaftesbury Barnet) by just 2cm, witha 16.27cm leap.
Dean Hardman, chair of the BAL, commented: "We had been mooting the idea of a celebration of all things league athletics for a while now and I am delighted that we gave it a try. The event wasn`t perfect,especially the timetable, but we are determined to get that right in future.
The feedback that I`ve received so far is that athletes in particular enjoyed competing in front of full stands and that the atmosphere far exceeded that which is usually created by league matches. I feel that we`ve laid a sound platform on which we can build this event.
I`d like to thank Steve Garrett, our Promotions Officer, in particular, for organising the event,as well as the other officers of the league and Sandra White, Mike Dooling, Mike Harris,Peter Matthews and the army of officials who worked so hard to put the event on".