Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets Harriers promoted to Division Three
Club rise to highest level of league competition in their history
Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets Athletics Club have risen to the highest level of league competition in their 90-year history after winning the final round of the British Athletics League in Derby.
After setbacks in their previous round meeting, it was important for all the club’s track and field men to step up and give their best to ensure promotion to Division Three.
The day began with the long jump, where Kamal Thompson secured third place with a distance of 6.64m and Nick Stanisavijec jumped 6.59 to finish second in the B string.
Jordan Aromasodu then set the tone for the day, by finishing second in the A string 400m hurdles, while Leevan Yearwood won the A string 100m in a time of 11.24 seconds.
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Saul Paine then followed Yearwood’s lead by winning the B string 100m in 11.52.
Team manager Tony MacDowall then once again led by example by donning his club vest to take part in the steeplechase to finish fifth in the B string event.
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In the high jump, Stanisavijec continued his good form with a second-place finish, while Jayden Ali and Baddar Echakhch pulled out great performances to claim the first and second spots in the pole vault with jumps of 3.8m and 3.4 respectively.
Hamim Lubega showed his class once again to win the 400m in a time of 49.31, while Tyson Oladukon ran a season’s best time of 50.73.
Mark Ryall then put in one of the performances of the day to lead the 1,500m race from start to finish.
Ryall demonstrated his quality by opening up a gap with 500m to go and sprinting to finish in a time of 4.00.98.
Despite being in third place with a lap to go, Tom Heslop once again showed a strong finish as he claimed victory in the B string 1,500m, with less-than a second separating first and fourth place.
In the 200m race, Pato Bangura seemed to effortlessly stride down the home straight to win in a time of 21.94, while Abdul Buhari was unlucky to get caught in the final 10m and had to settle for second place.
In the triple jump, Echakhch showed how strong the team spirit in the camp was by agreeing to take part in the B string event, and finished in third place to gain valuable points for the east London side.
Paul Martelletti was forced to run in the B string 5,000m race, such was the strength of the field, and he romped home in a time of 14.41.52 to finish third overall.
With just the shot and both relays to go, Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets were leading by over 20 points from second-placed Mansfield, but unfortunately Southampton had moved up to fourth, which meant that the east London club’s hopes of claiming the Division Four title had faded.
However, the club knew that they had secured promotion to Division Three by merit of finishing in second place.
In the relays, the 4x100m team gave a real master class to win by a margin of one-and-a-half seconds.
Buhari got the team off to great start and then safely passed the baton over to Bangura, who managed to get the team into second place.
Bangura handed the baton over to Paine, who ran a fantastic bend, before safely passing to Yearwood, who brought the victory home in a time of 41.89, breaking a stadium record that had stood since 1985.
In the final event of the day, the 4x400m relay team put in a great performance to finish in third place, with a season’s best time of 3.22.45, just short of a club record.
The final result saw Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets finish with 251 points, with second-placed Mansfield some 20 points behind.