Bedford & County Athletic Club’s Alex Alston has been selected to represent Great Britain in the 3000m steeplechase at the European Under 20 Athletics Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, later this month.
Alex won the gold medal at the England Under 20 Championships in Bedford two weeks ago, but was a few seconds shy of the 9:10 qualifying time for the European event.
That all changed on the final day of the qualifying period thanks to a brave performance at the National Athletics League in Stevenage on Saturday, where he managed to hang on to the coat tails of club-mate Dan Jarvis who was last year’s bronze medalist in the Senior UK Championships.
Looking fatigued, but never losing either the pace or his form, Alston stayed with Jarvis through seven and a half demanding laps over the barriers to come home in 9:07.89, a few tenths behind Jarvis, who won in 9:07.85.
As well as earning a ticket to Estonia, Alston also broke his own U20 club record. Alston is coached by Simon Goodwin, and his brother Mark, have had great success with the club’s men’s middle and long distance squad over the last few years.
Elsewhere, competing at the Eastern Young Athletes League match at Bedford on Sunday, Etienne Maughan broke her third club record of the season - this time the longstanding U17 women’s long jump, as sheleapt 5.64m. Etienne adds this to a collection of club records including the U17 women’s 80m hurdles, and, most impressively, the overall women’s 100m record of 11.8 seconds that she set in Sandy last month.
Varun Bandi, the founding member of the club’s growing Wheelchair Racing Section, was also to the fore in this week. Competing in the National Junior Wheelchair Racing Championships at Coventry on Saturday, Bandi came home with two silver medals and one bronze.
His silver medal times were both personal bests, in the 100m (19.07), and 800m (2:19.07).
These exploits cap a memorable week for the Wheelchair Section: the new Wheelchair Racing Cabin at Bedford International Athletics Stadium, constructed by a team of volunteers headed by the section’s manager, Howard Darbon, was officially opened by councillor Doub McMurdo on Sunday.
This marks an important milestone for the group, who were founded after the 2012 London Paralympics.