As I was waiting to interview heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the media zone after her stunning British high jump record of 1.97m, I got chatting to newly crowned, gold-medal-wearing long-jump champion Dan Bramble.
A young kid sidled up to him clutching a pen and a programme. “How much for your medal?” said the scallywag. Dan laughed.
So ended the first day of the British indoor athletics championships at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. The day began just as comically.
“Are you sure you’re in the right place?” one photographer asked me as a group of about 30 of us were taken on a pre-competition tour of the venue, to orientate us in regards to the places we were allowed to take photos.
“You’re not a big, fat, bald bloke,” he continued. I laughed but it was a valid observation that there were only two women out of all the photographers on the day.
The stadium announcer added to a fabulous atmosphere, particularly during the women’s high jump.
With two world-class heptathletes in Katarina Johnson-Thompson and teenager Morgan Lake jumping off to decide gold and silver it was Lake’s first attempt and clearance at 1.94m, despite struggling at the previous height, that prompted the announcer to say, “Kids, eh?”.
Lake’s national junior record pushed KJT into her own record-breaking jump, and with Commonwealth Games silver medalist and high-jump specialist Isobel Pooley in the event, coming in third with a 1.88m jump, the sprinting events were for once put in the shade.
When I put it to the eternally cheerful Dina Asher-Smith that she won her 60m race by a Usain-Bolt esque distance, her response was a big grin and, ‘Ooh, my agent would love you saying that’.
There’s always the photo that got away, and the one for me was of the pole vaulter, post competition, wandering around the arena, silver medal gently banging against her chest as she walked while eating a hot dog and slurping on a fizzy drink.
That’s right kids, if you do sport, you can pretty much eat what you want!
(Photos by Jo Gunston)