Kristal Awuah is rapidly making the transition from World class junior sprinter to top international class athlete. At the weekend’s Muller British Athletics Championship and World Trials meeting in very hot sunshine at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, Herne Hill Harrier Awuah achieved not one, but two excellent fourth place performances in top quality fields to emphasize her ability to mix it with the seniors.
First up was the women’s 100m on Saturday, Awuah comfortably qualifying from her semi-final in second place in 11.56 on a weekend when sprint times were hampered by headwinds. In the final a truly World class athlete Dina Asher Smith was a clear race winner with a championship best performance 10.96 against a lighter wind of -0.9 metres/second with Awuah finding her form when it mattered most to claim fourth in a string field with her 11.40. A top run in which she beat two women with faster season’s best times in 2019 so far.
On Sunday it was the 200m and here Awuah again placed a very good second in a time of 23.57 against a wind of -2.0 m/s behind eventual gold medal winner Jodie Williams. In the final Awuah produced probably her best competitive 200m performance to date with another battling fourth in 23.36 against a -4.3 m/s wind, intrinsically better than her current Herne Hill women’s club record.
Awuah will now be hopeful that her racing over the weekend will secure her a place in the Great Britain women’s 4 x 100m relay squad for the upcoming World Athletics Championship in Doha.
Also racing in the sprints in Birmingham in Herne Hill colours were another under 23 Eleanor Smith-Hahn, who qualified from her heat in the women’s 100m in 12.30, then clocking 12.39 against a stronger wind, but was unable to progress from her semi-final race into the final, while Marvin Popoola placed seventh in his hear of the men’s 200m in 21.50.
A week earlier on Wednesday 14 th August, another upcoming Harriers athlete Saskia Millard placed a good third in the women’s 3000m race in which she represented the Great Britain under 20 team at the prestigious Manchester International meet against home international senior teams. The contrast in the weather from Manchester to Birmingham was stark, as the Manchester event took place in heavy rain and Millards time of 9.32.00 was very decent given the wet conditions.
Millard was one of four Herne Hill athletes competing at the Manchester International, as she was accompanied in the GB Junior team by Ore Adamson, who placed fifth in the women’s long jump with 5.72m, also affected by the rain and Lakeisha Owusu-Junior in the women’s 4 x 100m relay, while Jessica Craig represented the Northern Ireland senior team placing sixth in the same 3000m race as Millard in a time of 9.57.20, only three seconds outside her PB.