Fawwaz Okunola powered to a sensational English Schools 100 metres title in Birmingham on Saturday (6/7/13), and in so doing became yet another brilliant success story in a glittering Trackspeed1 UK roll of honour over the years.
|Fawwaz Okunola - English Schools Intermediate Boys|
100 metres Champion, and yet another international
graduate from Trackspeed1 UK
It promised to be the closest fought final on the programme sheet as the heats threw up two semi finals that were simply too close to call. Fawwaz, the youngest member of coach John Powell’s training squad, drew the fastest qualpifier, Oliver Bromby (Hampshire) in the lane next to him.
Bromby had the crowd drawing breath as he clocked 10.69s in the heats, but that was assisted by a +2.7 breeze, and evened out with lesser winds in the other heats.
“I told Fawwaz he had to believe he could beat Bromby and to really go for it in the semi, because if you go into a 100m final with any doubts in your head you are finished,” said John.
Fawwaz had run 10.87 in the heats, a hundredth off his PB, despite the negligible +0.3 breeze, but that reversed in the semi to -1.4 as he saw off Bromby and others in a blanket finish. He clocked 11.00, just a hundredth ahead of the Hampshire boy, with others closing in. The final was set to be a classic.
With an international vest o offer for the first two across the line, the stakes were high, but Fawaz took his opportunity by the scruff of the neck. He blasted out of the blocks, hit top speed, and switched on the after-burners as the rest faded.
His 10.86s into a headwind of -1.5m/s in the final was exceptional, and would convert to under 10.7 had that breeze reversed. He crossed the line a clear tenth of a second ahead of the rest to take gold, and be assured of a seat on the plane to Ireland next weekend for the schools home international, representing England.
“I was delighted for Fawaaz, because it came as the result of some conscientious training this last few months. He’s the youngest in the group, but probably one of the most dedicated. He has three years as an under-20 now, so we can develop him properly into hopefully a full international.”
Also competing in Birmingham was Trackspeed1 UK’s Nathan Gilbert in the Senior Boys 100m. Nathan’s season promised so much, but had thus far been frustrated with a lengthy hamstring problem, and more lately illness.
The heats saw him glued to his blocks, but he came through the field in the latter stages to qualify for the final in second, clocking 11.00 facing a -1.4m/s wind.
In the final, he clocked a highly respectable 10.86s with a -0.1 breeze, taking fifth place which, under the circumstances, was exceptional. He hadn’t finished there though!
With the new found belief that he could still run despite all his trials and tribulations in recent weeks, he anchored a nervous London Schools team in the 4x100m relay. None of the teams had thus far wpo a medal in a disastrous string of results that, if continued in the senior boys race, would make it their worst showing in 30 years!
Nathan was in no mood to return home empty handed though, and duly took his team from fifth when he received the baton, to the bronze medal position at the line, to complete a hugely satisfactory day for the Trackspeed1 pair.
Both results were a massive testimony to the success of the Trackspeed1 UK Academy launched only last Autumn. Intending to open an elite squad’s doors to younger developing athletes, results like Fawwaz, and the potential shown by Nathan have continued an impressive roll of honour for the group, stretching back years into the early eighties.
|Nathan Gilbert - 5th in the Senior Boys 100m, |
and took London to bronze in the relay