UK 400m Hurdles 2003 Year Review

The 2003 season saw major breakthroughs into World Class for Natasha Danvers and Matt Douglas and some excellent performances in the Junior ranks, topped by medals for Rhys Williams and Rupert Gardner in the European u20 Championships.

In overall event terms there was on the men's side a drop off from the chase for Commonwealth Games places in 2002 - though at the top end the competition for Olympic places next year still looks very strong. On the women's side Danvers' continues to dominate with her nearest domestic rivals not able to close on major championship qualifying times after progression for the Manchester Commonwealths. However there was again eight women below 59 seconds and twelve below 60 - one more than in 2002.

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SENIOR MEN

2003
 
2002 Time
PB if superior
48.44
CHRIS RAWLINSON
48.21
48.14
48.54
MATT DOUGLAS
49.67
49.26
49.12
ANTHONY BORSUMATO
48.90
--
49.62
MATT ELIAS
49.11
--
50.61
BRAD YIEND
52.44
--
50.90
STEVE GREEN [u23]
50.96
--

For the 4th year in row Chris Rawlinson was Britain's number one male 400m hurdler with excellent victories in the Europa Cup [48.45 easing down from lane 1] and the GB vs USA vs Russia International [48.44] however injury in the run in to the World Championships hampered his quest for a medal, ending up 6th in the final after a 48.54 semi final.

Excitingly though Matt Douglas had a huge breakthrough during the World Championships - though his performance came in the World University Games in Daegu Korea where he took almost three quarters of a second off his previous best with 48.53 semi final clocking, before taking his first senior individual medal with silver in 49.25.

Anthony Borsumato had his world championships cut painfully short when breaking his ankle at the eighth hurdle in the semi final, though he had been rounding into good shape with a couple of low 49 second performances. Behind these three it was a disappointing year for Matt Elias [restricted by injury to 49.62] Steve Surety and Liam Collins. With the most notable progress being made by Birchfield's Brad Yiend who took almost 2 seconds of his 2002 pb to clock 50.61 in the AAA final. Another first time 51 second performance was turned in by Richard Lewis whose 50.99 was also archived in the AAA final.

U23 MEN

2003
 
2002 Time
PB if superior
50.90
STEVE GREEN
50.96
--
51.15
RHYS WILLIAMS [u20]
51.65
--
51.40
JEFF CHRISTIE
51.33
--
51.4 .
RUPERT GARDNER [u20]
52.29
--
51.63
DAVE BRACKSTONE
52.1 .
--
52.12
RICH SMITH
51.14
--

The prospects for the 2003 season had seemed promising for the u23 age group with 4 or 5 athletes in contention for the European u23 championships. However World Junior finalist Steve Green wound up the only selection as he came back into form towards the end of June and marginally improved his pb in the senior AAA championships.

Jeff Christie, Rich Smith and Dave Brackstone all had injury problems in season although the latter also had a late season breakthrough to 51.63. All the top six will be in the age group for next season but is fair to say that the season was much more fulfilling for the u20 men than the for their counterparts in the age group above.

 

U20 MEN

2003
 
2002 Time
PB if superior
51.15
RHYS WILLIAMS
51.68
--
51.4 .
RUPERT GARDNER
52.29
--
52.35
RICHARD DAVENPORT
51.7 *
--
53.66
TOM CAREY
54.57
--
53.9 .
DAVID TAYLOR
54.7 .
--
54.19
BEN CARNE
55.68*
--

* youth 400H

Rhys Williams became the first Briton to win the European u20 title [and the second Welshman to take a continental age group gold after Matt Elias' u23 victory in 2001]. Williams who was the fastest returning European junior from the 2002 season led home a GB Gold & Bronze success, reversing the defeat he had suffered at the AAA u20 championships when Rupert Gardener recorded a new best time of 51.4.

Behind these two excellent performers, Richard Davenport continued to show great promise in his outings at the event and with 46 sec flat speed could be as serious contender at the 2004 World Junior championships if he focused on the one lap barriers.

There was also solid development from Tom Carey, who ran mid 53 second clocking's on a number of occasions, with Ben Carne still having a further two yeas in the age group.

 

SENIOR WOMEN

2003
 
2002 Time
PB if superior
54.02
NATASHA DANVERS
55.68
54.95
57.04
LIZ FAIRS
58.48
--
57.46
TRACEY DUNCAN
56.53
--
57.70
KATIE JONES
57.69
--
58.33
SINEAD DUDGEON
56.88
55.26
58.36
SIAN SCOTT [u20]
60.48
--

Natasha Danvers enjoyed her best season yet and for a spell it seemed as if the former European u23 and World Universiade champion would be a medal contender in Paris, after successive pb in Zagreb & Rome took her down to 54.02 [almost a second better than her previous best from 2001, 54.95]. However after injury kept her out of the AAA trials, she never fully recaptured her form. Never the less with undoubted improvement her hurdling form [witnessed by a big improvement to 12.96 in the sprint hurdles] it places her in a good position to improve upon her 8th place in the last Olympics in Sydney.

Behind Danvers, however, Dudgeon and Duncan struggled to recapture their best form and Sotherton after a few promising outings at the end of 2002 concentrated solely on the Heptathlon in 2003. Liz Fairs did show marked improvement throughout the year to take her first AAA 400H title with 57.04 an improvement of a second and a half on her debut year last season. Also of promise was Sian Scott's massive improvement in the junior ranks [more below] whilst Hannah Stares moved into 58 second terriritory with a 58.77 pb in the heats of the AAA's and Jennifer Culley brought her time down to 59.29.

 

U23 WOMEN

2003
 
2002 Time
PB if superior
58.36
SIAN SCOTT u23
60.48
--
58.99
NICOLA SANDERS
58.72
--
59.15
HANNAH WOOD
58.8 .
--
59.8 .
ELIDHI CHILD [u20]
--
--
60.1 .
NUSRAT CEESAY
63.36
60.56
60.2 .
MELANIE CANNING [u20]
61.49
--

 

A dissapointing year for this age group after the season had promised so much for the two leading u23 returners, Nicola Sanders and Hannah Wood. Their season bests were both achieved early in the campaign in May, but injury caused Sanders to miss most of the rest of the year after she opened up the season with a 59.2 clocking at Mt Sac, whilst Wood struggled to recapture this level of form.

Ceesay did show a return to form clocking 60.1, but the fact that of the four sub 60 second clocking's in this age group two were by juniors, highlights the lack quality either exiting the junior ranks or being retained as they enter 'senior' athletics. It is to be hoped that the likes of Scott and Child [when she gets there!] will develop to be able to compete at 56/7 second level which is really needed if there is to be hope of a transition into world level competition.

It is probably fair to say that it is in the development of this age group that most work is needed to develop the long term strength of the event in Britain, with the last 56 second u23 performer being Natasha Danvers back in 1999.

 

U20 WOMEN

2003
 
2002 Time
PB if superior
58.36
SIAN SCOTT
60.48
--
59.8 .
EILIDH CHILD
--
--
60.2 .
MELANIE CANNING
61.49
--
60.32
FAYE HARDING
61.3 .
60.06
60.4 .
NATALIE KYDD
63.23
60.6 .
60.2 .
MELANIE CANNING [u20]
61.49
--

Undoubted star of the year for this age group was Sian Scott, the 2002 U20 AAA and ESAA champion - running 59.07 at the BUSA and then 58.36 to take the AAA u20 title. [over 2 seconds quicker than her 2002 pb]. A similar low 58 clocking qualified her for the European Junior title where she ultimately finished 5th in 59.29, but overall it was a great season for the Bournemouth athlete who undoubtedly benefited from working with her new coach Todd Bennett.

Also of huge promise is Eilidh Child, the young Scot capping her 300H National record season by dipping under 60 seconds in her first ever one lap outing - a performance level that would have seen her fare favourably at the European Youth Olympics. With three years in the Junior ranks to come it is to be hoped that the Norman Gardner coach athlete can develop the outstanding potential she currently possess.

Two other juniors who had shown great u17 promise Faye Harding and Natalie Kydd also returned to something like the form they had shown in 2001 after disappointing 2002 seasons and will be in the hunt for World Junior championship places in 2004. AAA u20 bronze medallist Melanie Canning finished the season strongly finishing just outside 60 seconds as she prepares to move into the u23 age group, in what was overall a highly satisfactory year for the women's u20 age group.

19 October 2003

 

New Interactive UKHC Forum

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COLIN JACKSON
As his career reached its finale, UKHC spoke to COLIN JACKSON about his advice for the comming generation of sprint hurdlers
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Rob Newton 13.36 for 4th on British All Time 110H lists in UKHC Race Promotion at Loughborough
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Gary Winckler Coach to Tonja Buford Bailey, seconfd on All time 400H lists looks at the Biomechanics of Sprint Hurdling

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2003 AAA Championship Report- titles for Greaves, Rawlinson, King and Fairs
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