Written by Gareth Cook
After a winter of preparation Kingston & Polytechnic’s menagerie of throwers emerged ready to validate the progress achieved through those cold dark months. With a variety of technical expertise and life experience, targets for Camilla’s, now established, season opener were equally disparate.
The hammer competitions featured throwers ranging from the inexperience of Dominique Blaize in her 1st hammer competition at the almost unforgivable age of 27 and the fledgling Jessica Westley whose diminutive stature belies a fierce determination to succeed, to Gareth Cook throwing in his 32nd competitive season with the senior weight.
In decreasingly pleasant conditions Dominique displayed all the hallmarks of the seasoned athlete she is to produce her first official PB in a torrential downpour in the 1st round – no mean feat. With improving weather she would progress to a creditable 35.86m in the 3rd round. After only a dozen or so training sessions there is surely a lot more to come for Dominique now she has finally found a proper event on which she can concentrate !
Jessica is embarking on the same journey but is at the very beginning of her athletic career. Still only 15 years old she has taken to hammer throwing with a refreshing enthusiasm and no small amount of natural ability. After only a handful of sessions with her coach Tony Cook, Jessica is now a regular in Gareth’s Saturday morning hammer clinic as well where she has thrived throwing with her more experienced club mates. Her early training in ballet does not go unnoticed as she executes a dynamic 3-turn throw. Having never thrown a hammer until this winter she recorded a second PB in this, her third competition of the season so far, with a throw of 34.92m in the 3rd round. Training performances have already suggested that progress will continue at a similar rate.
Gareth has had a largely injury free winter which is increasingly welcomed with his advancing years ! After a slow start in the poor conditions he gained in confidence to finish with a reasonable 48.41m in the 6th round. With a few more competitions under his belt he should be looking to throw over the 50m mark again soon.
Pippa Wingate has had an excellent winter increasing her strength, speed and power under the expert guidance of Jenny Archer and has honed her hammer technique under Tony and Gareth. Training performances had promised much but as we all know they can count for little once the season begins – Pippa did not disappoint, however. After a confident but safe opener in poor conditions Pippa unleashed a 2nd round 55.96m effort to set a new PB and a new Surrey County Senior Record eclipsing Christina Bennett’s 12 year old mark. Not content with that after a couple of consolidation throws she finished with a more committed but a less than technically perfect 56.23m in the last round – early encouragement that, with room for improvement, distances should continue in the same direction.
In the shot Renzo Di Libero was the star of the show with a new M50 Club Record of 11.33m. Renzo had previously crept past Roger Bartlett’s old mark in a competition the previous week but truly eclipsed it with this effort in the 3rd round.
Pippa had a good start to her outdoor shot season with a PB (12.69m) threatening 12.64m – with some competition fitness and timing a 13m+ put is imminent as evidenced by a monster warm up throw.
Gareth launched his outdoor shot campaign with a steady 11.59m building, in the process, a consistent series.
In the discus Pippa opened the season with a volatile series but still managed to exceed the 40m mark twice finishing with 40.63m.
Gareth offered a similarly inconsistent series finally managing to produce a 6th round throw of 35.89m, further than he achieved in 2014.
Renzo had a more consistent series finishing also with a superior throw than last year of 28.70m in the M50 category.
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