Abdul is Captain Fantastic as he helps push Beagles up the table

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 July 2011

SPT WK27-11 WEB Abdul buhari

SPT WK27-11 WEB Abdul buhari

»Newham & Essex Beagles moved to within two points of the top of the British Athletics League Premier Division table with victory in the second meeting of the season at Barnet Copthall on Saturday.

Led by Athlete of the Match and captain Abdul Buhari, the reigning Premier Division Champions amassed a winning total of 347 points on the day, pushing them up to fourth in the overall table with 11 points.

The discus thrower, won his event with a personal best 63.58metres – shattering his previous lifetime best throw by almost two metres – and in doing so became the fourth man in Britain to achieve the B standard qualification mark for the World Championships in Daegu, which begin in August.

Buhari’s performance was also the ninth best of all-time by a British athlete and team manager Rowan Griffiths feels there is even more to come from the 29-year-old.

“It was a tremendous performance from Abdul. He missed the whole of last season with an abductor injury, so to come back and throw how he has this season is excellent,” said Griffiths.

“He’s qualified for the Worlds at the B standard and now he’ll be looking to throw towards the 65-metre-mark and qualify for the A standard.

“I think he’s ready to make the breakthrough. He’s 29, he’s served his time as a young thrower and if he’s throwing the distances then there’s no reason why he can’t compete at the international events.”

Team-mate James Ellington capped an excellent week with victory in the 200m. The 25-year-old set a new personal best of 20.52 seconds at a meeting in Metz, France on Monday night to shoot up to third in the Power of 10 rankings and followed up with victory on Saturday in 20.82.

Like Buhari, Ellington has achieved the qualifying mark for the World Championships.

Having previously suffered with hamstring injuries, which saw his funding cut and cost him a place at last year’s Euro Championships in Barcelona, Ellington will hope his excellent form can continue as London 2012 draws closer and Griffiths feels the sprinter is now reaping the rewards of some hard training with coach John Powell.

“James has really got his head down this winter and put in the hard work. Now he’s reaping the rewards,” added Griffiths.

Fellow sprinter Ryan Scott was also in top form, winning the 100m in 10.51 and the 200m B race in 21.60.

Sudanese international Rabah Yousif Bkheit won the 400m in 45.82, while James Shane continued his excellent early-season form to come out on top in the 3,000m, finishing in 8.09.74.

Frank Baddick added valuable points with a season’s best 1.50.90 in the 800m, placing fifth, while team-mate Samatar Farah clocked a season’s best 3.51.70 to finish fourth in the 1,500m.

Alex Al Ameen was below his best, but still produced a winning performance in the 110m hurdles, crossing the line in 14.30.

Newham registered a pair of victories in the triple jump, with Nick Thomas winning the A string competition with a 15.83m jump, while 39-year-old Julian Golley jumped a season’s best 15.32m to win the B event.

In the 400m hurdles, Tom Burton was second in a season’s best 50.76, while Shaun Slater scored valuable points for his side with a personal best 12.48.66 in the 3,000m steeple chase, placing eighth, and followed up to finish fourth in the pole vault B competition, clearing 3.40m.

City of Manchester were runners up to Beagles on the day, finishing with 314 points to keep them top of the table overall.

The league leaders host the next British Athletics Premier Division meeting on Saturday, August 13, before the season ends at Newham on Saturday, August 27.

And Griffiths feels his side will need to register two wins to have a chance of winning the Championship.

“Saturday’s performance opens the door a little bit,” said Griffiths.

“We have to realistically win the last two matches to give us a chance and not rely on how the other teams do. We plan to take a strong squad into the last two meetings and will do everything we can to retain the title.”

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