I giggle as cheeky kid outwits athlete at British champs

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.

My photographer's eye view of the end of the sprint track.

My photographer’s eye view at the end of the sprint track.

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?”.

Morgan searches for divine inspiration to beat her idol Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Teenager Morgan Lake searches for divine inspiration to beat her idol Katarina Johnson-Thompson

But Lake seemed happy enough with a junior national record.

Lake seemed happy enough with a junior national record.

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.

KJT contemplates raising the British high jump record by attempting 2m

KJT contemplates raising the British high jump record by attempting 2m

KJT is unsuccessful at 2m but thanks for the crowd for their support.

KJT is unsuccessful at 2m but thanks for the crowd for their support

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’.

I promise you 60m sprint gold medalist Dina Asher-Smith has just finished a lung-busting race here

I promise you, 60m sprint gold medalist Dina Asher-Smith has just finished a lung-busting race here

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)

Athlete social
Katarina Johnson-Thompson on Instagram
Dina Asher-Smith on Instagram
Morgan Lake on Instagram
Dan Bramble on Twitter

Author: Jo Gunston

Roving blogging superfan shares behind the scenes stories of her sports life and the best of those from like-minded souls.

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