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Harriers Perform at Universities Championships

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STEVE MEDALS WITH NEW PB AT UNIVERSITIES CHAMPS

Exeter Harriers’ Steve Turnock has returned from the British Universities & Colleges (BUCS) Championships in Bedford with bronze after smashing his javelin personal best by more than a metre with a massive throw of 68.99m. The competition also saw Rebecca Brown and Rebecca Chapman also stepping up to the challenge of top early season competition with fourth places apiece.

‘The weather was great over the course of the weekend’ said Turnock, who is studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University, ‘and overall I’m really pleased. On entry into the competition I was ranked eighth, I wanted to come fifth or above really as I came fifth last year.’ With a major adjustment to his run-up the week before there was uncertainty how things would go under pressure of competition, but a couple of big throws in the qualification round boosted his confidence. ‘I was feeling great so was getting quite excited for the final.

Turnock’s first attempt was a safe throw of about 63 metres, then a poor attempt in round two followed by a 66m throw. ‘That really settled me down and I consolidated with a high 64.’ Now in sixth position he knew he had to launch the javelin some distance if he was to improve. ‘I then did 68m which put me in third then I really went for it in the last round getting 68.99m and a new PB. I was really happy cause I wasn’t really expecting it.’

Rebecca Chapman achieved fourth place in the long jump with a superb 6.00m jump and although she has had to step down from the medals following her bronze at the BUCS Indoors earlier this year remains philosophical. ‘Overall I’m really happy with the weekend. I missed out by 3cm on the bronze and only 14cm separated first from fourth so although it is slightly gutting I feel so happy to have jumped 6.00m again for the first time legally outside.’ The former English Schools’ long jump champion, who is also studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University, had few expectations going into the competition as it is still early in the season to hold such a major event. Chapman qualified comfortably for the final with 5.82, then with a no jump in the first round of the final followed by a solid 5.77 her jumps gradually improved, with her 6.00m jump coming in the last round. ‘Competition was tough, had the reigning BUCS outdoor champion there, Jaz Sawyers (reigning World Junior bronze medallist), and the fourth place at BUCS indoors, but honestly don’t feel intimidated by them any more and I feel that every time I walk on to the track I can compete with them at a high standard.’

Rebecca Brown also claimed fourth place in the 100m hurdles with a time of 14.26, the same position she achieved at BUCS Indoors, with the same three athletes again ahead of her. ‘Initially I was really disappointed with my actual placing as during the winter I had seen BUCS Outdoors as a key event for me, but in reality because it is so early in the season the main aims have to be later on in the year at the Age Group Championships.’

The Birmingham University student was pleased with her times though, clocking 14.21 in the heats and a fraction slower in the final. ‘They are much faster than my opening times last season and I’ve also actually been injured for the past three weeks so I have to be relatively pleased with my performance with a preparation lacking specific hurdle work.’  Brown was able to use the excellent facilities at the University to aid injury recovery prior to the competition, including an ant-gravity treadmill. ‘I managed to use it four times leading up to the competition, meant I could do a speed session without it causing more pain and damage to my foot. I’m now aiming to peak at the National U23 Championships in June.’