BY TOM POLLAK
Freddie Arkell gave himself an early birthday present when he stormed to victory in the English age group track and field championships in blustery conditions at Bedford on Sunday.
Racing just a day before he celebrated his 15th birthday, Arkell stormed to an impressive victory in the boys U15 200 metres final in a lifetime best of 22.36 seconds.
Arkell, a pupil at St Cecelia’s School in Southfields, was firm favourite to take the 200m gold medal after winning his heat in 22.59, the fastest of the eight qualifiers for the final by almost half-a-second.
It also improved on his PB of 22.7 at a Youth Development League meeting at Battersea Park in June. His performances at Bedford were a massive improvement on his best before the start of this season of 24.1. His winning time in his heat at Bedford, where the wind was within the allowed two metres per second limit, ranks him second in the country this summer just three-hundredths of a second behind the age-group leader.
Arkell’s winning time in the final was achieved with an above limit tailwind of 2.9 metres per second but no one in his age group has run faster this summer than his winning heat time of 22.36. The teenager adds the English outdoor 200m title to the indoor one he won at Sheffield in February.
Arkell warmed up for his gold medal performance on Sunday by taking the bronze medal in the 100m final on Saturday when he clocked 11.26, missing out on the silver medal by just one-hundredths of a second. Earlier he equalled his lifetime best, achieved when he took the silver medal at the English Schools Championships in Birmingham in July, when he won his semi-final in 11.18.
He won his first round heat in 11.27 and was third fastest of the eight qualifiers for the final.
It has proved an outstanding summer for Arkell in only his third year with the club. He also took silver medals in the South of England 100m and long jump championships. Arkell won the Surrey indoor 60 metres and long jump titles at the start of the year. His best long jump of 6.13m ranks him eighth in the UK this summer.
Mabel-Rose Scales, 12, was the youngest of the 13 competitors in the girls U15 high jump at Bedford on Sunday. She was given special permission to take part in the competition as she is the top-ranked U13 girls high jumper in the UK this summer with a 1.60m clearance at a Lily B League meeting at Walton in June. She was below her best form in windy conditions at Bedford with a clearance of 1.51m for eighth place.
The younger Scales sister – Willow – was in action in the Lily B League Plate final at Kingston on Saturday finishing third in the U13 70m hurdles.
London Schools’ 200m champion Celeste Minkwe took the U13 100n and 200m A races and came second in the long jump.
Holly Staveley-Wadham won the U13 100m and 200m B races. Missy Cooper won the U15 100m B race and long jump. Another winner was Lacticia Etse in the U15 200m A race.
Darcey O’Shea won the U15 high jump and was second in the shot. Millie Doyle and Millie Thorpe took the U15 1500n A and B races.
Sophie Thorpe won the U13 1500m. Lottie Harvey took the U13 800m B race. Hercules Wimbledon quartets won both the U13 and U15 sprint relays.
Hercules Wimbledon had a pair of parkrun winners on Saturday. Veteran Andy Parker headed home more than 200 runners at Sittingbourne in 18:23. Ellen Weir was top female finisher on the Isle of Wight in 19:59.
Elsewhere, Fred Slemeck was second out of 589 runners at Basingstoke in 16:50, Elena Dauster was second women finisher at Fulham Palace in 19:17 and John Biddall and Lisa Thomas were third male and female finishers on Wimbledon Common in 17:57 and 20:38, respectively. There were 22 Hercules Wimbledon runners in the Wimbledon Common event.
This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon athletes compete in the Surrey track relay championships which are being held at the David Weir Leisure Centre, Carshalton, on Saturday and Sunday.