Durham athletes all set for schools ‘Olympics’

Philippa Ellis
Philippa Ellis
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Durham County have selected 32 athletes for the English Schools’ Track and Field Championships at Birmingham at the weekend.

The three-day event will see the elite of schools’ athletics compete in what is known as the Schools’ Olympics.

Bob Laidler

Bob Laidler

West Wearside, which combines Houghton and Washington, can stand proud with five athletes selected and three are from Houghton Kepier School.

Easington are also celebrating, with two athletes on the team bus after qualifying through the tough qualification rounds and achieving the English Schools’ standards.

Philippa Ellis (Park View, Chester-le-Street), who competes in her speciality in the Junior Girls’ 75m hurdles at Birmingham, won the Junior Girls Pentathlon at the English Schools AA North East Regional Finals at Middlesbrough.

She now qualifies, along with her Durham County Schools team mates, for the English Schools’ finals at Boston in September. She led the competition after the first two rounds (hurdles and shot putt) but trailed the leader, Chester-le-Street athlete Grace McGlone by 204 points going into the final 800m.

Estimates suggested a margin of approximately 20 seconds would be required to overturn the lead. In the final event, the Houghton Harrier stormed home in the 800m in 2:34.9 to score a total of 2819 points against McGlone’s 2797 following her 2.55.6 performance.

Both girls will now go onto the final for Durham, along with Emily Salmon (Durham City Harriers) and Kosi Iuora (Chester-le-Street).

Houghton Harrier Will Bellamy goes into the English Schools’ Championship in good form after clocking a personal best for 1500m (4.14.80) when winning the C race at the British Milers’ Club paced races at Chester-le-Street on Monday. Clubmate Nicole Phillips also ran well when winning the G race in a time just outside her best (4.52.20).

The Durham team for Birmingham is:

Junior Girls: 800m - Lydia James (Oxclose Community Academy), 1500m - Emily Chong (The Hermitage Academy), 1500m - Nicole Phillips (St Bede’s), Peterlee), 75m Hurdles - Philippa Ellis (Park View, Chester-le-Street).

Intermediate Girls: 200m - Rachel Bennett (Barnard Castle School), 800m Catherine Roberts (Hummersknott School), 1500m India Pentland (Barnard Castle School), High Jump - Ella Murray (Thorp Academy, Ryton).

Senior Girls: 100m - Hannah Kelly (Wickham School), 200m - Jasmine Moss (Durham High School for Girls).1500m - Lucy-Erin Hunter (Carmel RC College, Darlington), Shot Putt - Kate Carmichael (Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form, Darlington), Discus - Georgia Kyle (Wickham School), Pole Vault - Claudia Barkes (Barnard Castle School).

Junior Boys:100m - Tyler Thomas (The Academy, Shotton Hall), 300m Liam Easteugh (Oxclose Community Academy), 300m - Joshua Irving (Carmel RC College, Darlington), 800m - Daniel Joyce (St Thomas More Catholic School), 800m - Daniel Joyce (St Thomas More Catholic School), 800m - Adam Ord (Greenfield), 1500m - Henry Johnson (Houghton Kepier), 1500m Will Bellamy (Houghton Kepier), High Jump - Harry Hall (St Joseph’s Catholic Academy), Javelin - Michael Graham (St John’s RC, Bishop Auckland). Shot Putt -Jack Halpin (The Hermitage Academy).

Intermediate Boys: Ethan Crawford (St John’s RC, Bishop Auckland), 200m Joshua Errington (Harton Technology), 1500m steeplechase - Jonny Langley (Houghton Kepier).

Senior Boys: 400m -William Curtis (Heworth Grange Comprehensive), High Jump - Liam Reveley (Cardinal Hume RC), Triple Jump - Harrison Whitfield (Durham Johnston), Shot Putt - David Todd (New College Durham).

Sunderland Harrier Bob Laidler, a multi veterans’ British champion in the throws during his 70s and into his 80s, has died at the age of 89.

The Fulwell man won titles in the discus, javelin, shot and hammer. He took his last title in 2008 at the age of 80 when he won the shot with a distance of 8.13m. During his throws career, he set British records in 1998 in the M70 discus with a throw of 30.07m and the javelin in 1999 with 29.69m.

The Bede Grammar School student joined Sunderland Harriers during the

1950s as a useful sprinter. He was also a talented boxer and footballer. He won a county boxing title as a schoolboy and also played for Sunderland reserves a couple of times as a goalkeeper before playing on the outfield for local teams.

He was head draughtsman at J. L. Thompsons and at Doxford shipyards and was a familiar sight at the Cat and Dog steps at Roker where he trained winter and summer on the sands.

Bob’s funeral was at St Andrews Church on Monday.