Lydia Church earns call-up for World Para-Athletic Champs
Lydia Church was in seventh heaven after being called up for Great Britain’s team for November’s World Para-Athletics Championship in Doha.
The 20-year-old shot putter will join 11 reigning world champions from London 2017 in the 43-strong squad, including 10-time world gold medallist Hannah Cockroft and sprinting sensation Jonnie Peacock.
The Nene Valley Harrier, who competes in the F12 category for visually impaired athletes, defeated three of the world’s top six in winning her only international competition in Paris earlier this month, and will travel to Qatar knowing she can compete with the best.
* Nene Valley Harriers men and ladies both just missed out on the medals in Sunday’s close-fought Eastern Masters Track and Field Finals at Milton Keynes.
It started well with Sean Reidy winning the Over 35s 400m hurdles in a league record time of 55.36secs.
But a day of injuries dictated that sprinters became throwers and vice versa, leading to high farce.
Simon Achurch was competing in the discus at the same time while due to run a 200m relay leg, and an attentive Reidy spotted the thrower was not in place and sprinted 200m to take his place.
This left Achurch changing his shoes while on the move to get in position and take the baton from Reidy.
With injuries to key men, Reidy competed in six events, and the 37-year-old won the 400m in 53.29secs, and the 100m in 12.10secs before coming second at 200m and high jump.
Over 50s athlete Andrew Robson won the 800m in a time of 2min 30.49secs and was second over 200m in 13.88secs.
Achurch took maximum points in the over 35s discus and hammer, and also won the shot with a distance of 11.42m while finishing second in the javelin.
Injured 50-year-old sprinter Julian Smith became a thrower for the day, scoring points in all four disciplines, while John Spriggs (O60s) was second in the triple jump.
The men finished fifth, but were outside the medals by just seven-and-a-half points.
The ladies finished in an agonising fourth place with Betty Gash winning the 3,000m in 14min 22.88secs and finishing second in the over 60s 200m, 800m and long jump.
Team captain Claire Smith finished runner up in the over 35s 100m, 200m, 400m and 400m hurdles, while Nicky Morgan (O35s) collected third places in the 1,500m and 3,000m, with Philippa Taylor easily winning the Over 50s 3,000m in 11min 02.02secs.
Andrea Jenkins picked up wins in the over 35s hammer (43.98m) and the shot (9.67m), and was second in the discus and third in the javelin.
Sally Pusey was runner-up in the over 50s discus, with Brenda Church 3rd in the over 60s shot, and Gemma Skells third in the over 35s pole vault.