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Athletes mix with the best at Loughborough International event

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Sunday saw the 66th Loughborough International athletics event at the Paula Radcliffe stadium, on the university campus.On a glorious spring day, in front of a capacity crowd, teams representing the home nations, a Great Britain team, Loughborough team and some specially invited guests were in full flow. The competition involved athletes from U18, U20, U23 and senior age groups.This included the current World Heptathlon Champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who cleared 1.86m in the High Jump to take gold ahead of Thea Brown in silver (1.83m) and Halle Ferguson in bronze (1.75m).Johnson-Thompson’s jump will undoubtedly give the 31-year-old a welcome boost ahead of the world’s biggest sporting stage, the Olympics, in France’s capital later this summer.There were some big-name athletes and some rising stars on show. U23 athlete Alfie Williams from West Norfolk AC was invited to throw in the shot competition after his fantastic start to the season, as was 400m hurdler James Greenhalgh who is second-claim athlete for the club.Alfie had another good series of throws, all dropping over 14m with 14.74m being his furthest mark finishing in sixth. He decided to wear the retro West Norfolk AC vest in honour of club president and club coach Wally Oliver who it once belonged to.Alfie said: “I have been fortunate to be part of some big events, SportsHall Nationals, England Schools Champs and the Dublin International representing England, but I have never had the chance to wear the club vest at a big event before.“I had the option to wear university, club, county, or national colours but I took the opportunity to show off the club and I thought it would be fitting to wear Wally’s old club vest, in honour of him, and the club where it all started for me. I am proud to represent and remain associated with them.”James had a really good run in the 400m hurdles, running a season-best time of 54.28sec and finishing third.It’s early in the outdoor season with many events to come, including domestically, with the British Championships at the end of June, so it will be good to see how both athletes progress.



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