Torun, Poland, 24-30 March 2019. Report by Pete Stepney.

Five of our Vet athletes travelled to Poland to go toe to toe with the World’s best.

High jump

Duncan Talbot was first in action on Monday 25th in the high jump. Regular medalist and highly ranked in the UK now taking on the best in the world. He has a trademark shout of triumph when clearing successfully, we were just out of earshot at the time but I was reliably informed it happened. He finished with a clearance of 1.4m placing 10th out of 15 starters.

Men's pentathlon

After a day off Duncan then took on the Pentathlon....60mh, LJ, Shot, HJ, and 1000m. His age group had 18 entered and Duncan amassed 2647 points from the 5 events placing him 11th.

I began my pentathlon as Duncan was progressing through his and targeting the top half I finished in 16th place of 30 starters, slightly below the points score I was aiming at.

On the Thursday it was Marc Juffkins turn, again in the pentathlon. His first two events did not go to plan having had a very early start, hurdling at 8am! but when it came to the shot he put one out to a PB distance of 8.99. This set up the possibility of a PB score which came after a decent high jump and determined effort in the 1000m. 2513pts gave him 20th position from the 35 who started.

Women's pentathlon

Friday brought the female pentathletes into the fray and Jeanette Ashton in her first ever indoor event. Her events are almost the same as the men's with the female event running an 800 at the end and HJ and LJ having the order reversed. So HJ was her second event and she had us on the edge of our seats when she knocked the bar off on her opening two attempts and making it wobble on her last chance. She went on to clear a couple more heights reaching 1.15 and narrowly missing 1.18. The 800m is her strongest event and with a well-paced run, she clocked 3:20.25 to score well giving her 10th place overall out of 12 starters.

Pole-vault

Last in action was Carine Muir vaulting in her first indoor and international event. Her preparation was curtailed by an ankle/calf injury which has prevented some of the more specific work needed to practise hard in this event. We had high hopes, as reports were that sessions at Brunel indoor athletics centre were going well. It's technically tricky with more variables to deal with than other athletic events. Sharing an unfamiliar pole added to the complexity. Starting at a comfortable height Carine progressed easily clearing five successive heights with no problem reaching a PB of 2.4m before three great attempts at 2.5m which to observers is clearly well within her grasp....watch this space. This placed her 6th of 9 competitors, a great result for the first competition of the year.

The after-party

The final fling was the GB team after party, arranged at a paid entry nightspot under one of the hotels being used by athletes. The locals must have wondered what was going on with a significant rise in the average age in the place.....at one point the 79yr old team manager said to me 'some of the moves in here are better than they were on the track'.