Beagles all set for a crack at the British League title
PUBLISHED: 08:30 10 May 2013
Newham & Essex Beagles looking to regain the British Athletics League once more
Newham & Essex Beagles are looking to regain the British Athletics League for the first time in three years when the new campaign gets out of the blocks next Saturday.
The Beagles won three Premier League titles on the trot from 2008 to 2010, but their crown has slipped slightly in the last couple of years as their huge contingent of international athletes have been engaged elsewhere.
This time round though, team manager Rowan Griffiths is hopeful that they can go back to the top. “Ideally we are going out to win it,” he said as he prepares for the opening match at Lea Valley this weekend.
“Preparations are going well at the moment, considering the new season is starting earlier than usual, but the problem we have had in the past is that we have such a talented squad of athletes that they have been taken away from the matches by other commitments.
“We lost 11 athletes last year and 12 the year before and though we still put in tremendous performances, it was not quite enough.
“The fact that there is only one major championships this summer means that we should have most of our best athletes for three of the four matches and hopefully that will be enough to get us to the top.”
Last year’s champions Shaftesbury Barnet are likely to be favourites for the title again with Newham’s near neighbours Woodford Green also a threat.
But Griffiths believes that some of his up and coming athletes could tip the balance in the Beagles favour this year.
“We have some rising stars who should score us plenty of points this summer hopefully,” he said.
“Rabah Yousif, who ran for Senegal in the Olympic 400 metres last summer and just missed out on a place in the final, has become a British citizen this year and if he can find the sort of 45 second form again then not only will he be good for us, then he will be in a GB vest as well.
“David Bolarinwa is a young sprinter who was at the World Junior Championships last year, while we have two up and coming triple jumpers who were ranked one and two indoors in the country this winter.”
Kola Adedoyin leapt a personal best 16.50 metres indoors this year, while not far behind him was Michael Puplampu who has managed 16.43m as well as a 16.59m wind assisted jump last year.
They should give Newham plenty of points, but the key may be how many of their top names will be able to appear.
The likes of long jumpers Chris Tomlinson, JJ Jegede, discus thrower Abdul Buhari have appeared in the past for the team and if they make themselves available once again, then the silverware could be once again returning to the Terence McMillan Stadium.
Premier League Teams: Birchfield Harriers, City of Manchester, City of Sheffield, Enfield & Haringey, Herne Hill Harriers, Newham & Essex Beagles, Shaftesbury Barnet, Woodford Green.
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