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Two of Hercules Wimbledon’s older athletes enjoyed outstanding success, gaining a bagful of seven medals in the European Masters Indoor championships in Madrid, Spain, with both Anna Garner and Dominic Bokor-Ingram posting gold medal-winning performances.
Garnier, 63 (pictured above), snatched an unexpected victory in the women’s over 60 1500m final in five minutes 49.21 seconds, less than half-a-second ahead of British rival Alison Bourgeois. This reversed their finishing positions in the British championships at Lee Valley a fortnight earlier when Bourgeois won by more than a second.
Garnier said: “I was very nervous before the 1500m because I’d been through a low patch in January. Once out on the track the nerves turned into positive adrenalin. The race unfolded with a Spanish girl some way ahead and Alison tight behind me. I ran safely within myself but when Alison rallied I countered. We overtook the Spanish girl and at the bell I went for it and it worked. I wasn't going to lose!”
Garnier also competed in the 5km Cross Country Championships where she again managed to beat fellow-Brit Bourgeois by three seconds but had to settle for individual silver behind a Spaniard who won by 29 seconds. “I decided to give it everything not knowing much about the opposition apart from my British team mate who told me she was going to let me lead the way. I knew she would be hot on my heels. Conditions were very unpleasant with a bitter icy wind which blew strongly into our faces as we ran up a tough hill only 200 metres from the start. We did that three times. We were kept for 25 minutes at the start so my warm-up went up the spout.
She added: “As I finished up the final little hill I was fighting with all the grit I had. Alison was four seconds behind and a stunning Spanish lady was the well deserved winner. However best of all was that our third scorer ran so well to finish sixth and we took a wonderful team gold. It was frighteningly close but we won by 17 seconds. Such a great win.”
Bokor-Ingram, 50, gained a quartet of medals in the men’s over 50 category taking gold in the 800m, silver in the 400m and bronzes in the 200m and 4x200m relay. Bogor-Ingram, from Tranmere Road, Earlsfield, the British Masters 60m, 200m and 400m champion thought his best chance of a gold medal in Madrid was the 400m. However his hopes failed to materialise as he was beaten by a powerful German who broke the meeting record of 52.47 seconds, ahead of Bokor-Ingram’s 53.31 which was disappointingly much slower than the 52.67 he posted in winning the British title at Lee Valley a fortnight earlier.
He said: “I was a little disappointed with the 400m as I have run faster this year. The winner took us through 200m in 24.4 which was a bit quicker than I would have liked and it took it out of me for the second 200 metres. I was obviously very pleased with the 800. I executed my race plan exactly right and ran an indoor pb.”
He added: “ I was most pleased with the 200m as I had to run the semi-final two hours after the 800m final and managed to qualify. I then ran an indoor pb of 24.16 in the final from lane two. The most fun was the relay though, where the British team managed to snatch a bronze.”
Nearer home, a quartet of Hercules Wimbledon youngsters showed good early season form in the SLAN open meeting at Tooting Bec. Teenager Sam Barker beat a 17-strong field to win the 1500m in 4:24:46, beating club mate Daniel Illis (4:34.28), with Hector Revill fourth in 4:38.18 and Fred Jimack 13th.
There were also a quartet of winners in Saturday’s 5km parkruns: Gina Galbraith (Wimbledon Common), Alex Robinson (Brockwell Park), Eileen Brandley (Northampton) and Joe Toomey (Tooting Common). Fred Slemeck was second at Cheltenham and Ben Toomer third in Northampton.
Finally, Club members will be cheering on sprinter Dwayne Cowan who races for England in the 4x400m relay at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. The Games start next Wednesday (April 4th).