By David Jones

A HUGELY successful 2019 for Bolton United Harriers’ sports hall athletes was celebrated at the club’s annual awards evening last weekend.

At the sports hall county championships in February the Blue Vests won 12 individual medals, several of them golds, as well as the Under-11 girls dominating the relay.

Bolton had nine young athletes selected for the Greater Manchester team in 2019 and in the autumn the Harriers competed in the Greater Manchester League with league titles for the u11 boys and girls teams, beating the likes of Sale, Trafford and Stockport. 

Bolton had numerous athletes who competed indoors in 2019, the highlight being u15 gold for Julia Winogrodzka in both the 60m hurdles and the long jump in the Northern Championships.

Winogrodzka, Olivia Kimbowa, Abigail Adeniji and Ben To all competed at the EA National Indoor Championships in February 2019.

The YDL lower team finished fifth in their league and the YDL upper team were fourth, despite having small numbers of athletes to choose from. The senior team finished a creditable fourth in the second tier of the Northern League. 

Bolton United Harriers had a successful Greater Manchester County Championships and came home with 20 medals in total, 11 of which were gold.

In the Greater Manchester schools event they won 12 medals, eight of which were gold.

This is the qualifying event for the prestigious English Schools event where the criteria is not only to finish top two in the event but also achieve an incredibly difficult qualifying standard. In one of the club’s most successful years six athletes qualified for the national finals.

They were Adeniji and To in the 100m, Winogrodzka in the long jump, Hannah Kelly in the 200m, Kimbowa in the 400m and Luke Greenhalgh in the discus.

At the Northern Outdoor Championships the highlight was a dominant performance by Kelly to win the u20 women’s 200m in 23.52. 

On a national level Winogrodzka competed at the England Athletics National Championships, winning bronze in the long jump with 5.48.

She also competed in the Polish u16 national championships, taking gold in the hurdles and silver in the long jump.

In the u20 England Athletics Championships Kelly had high hopes of a medal in the 200m pushing towards the European championships qualifying standard.

She had already run the time needed but the assisting wind made the time ineligible. Though disappointed to finish fourth she was selected for Great Britain u20s and the following week in Germany Kelly smashed her PB in a time of 23.53 and was picked for the European Championships in Boras Sweden in July.

Reaching the semi-finals Kelly finished sixth and would have been second had she been drawn in the other semi.

She also competed for Britain at both the Loughborough and Manchester Internationals in 2019 and finished the year ranked eighth in Europe.

Discus thrower Luke Greenhalgh has improved massively during 2019, raising his PB from 32.63 to 42.87 and fifth in the UK. 

Cathy Flitcroft came sixth in the European Masters 1,500m and eighth in the 800m. 

The Harriers’ trio of wheelchair racers have also excelled with Kayli English winning four national championships and Alex Wood qualifying but being unable to compete on the day.

Anthony Cooper won bronze in the Invictus Games trials.

Laura Lombard dominated at cross country, while Jonny Kay, Ruby Erzan Essien, Rachel Bailey, below, and Molly Philbin also excelled. 

At the Bury Schools Championships Isobel Oxley and Aliyah Martin were gold medalists. 

In fell running, Philbin sisters Molly and Lily both won several races, the highlight at the English championships with fifth and 12th places respectively. 

Two Harriers were presented with Life Memberships. They were Hannah Kelly – for an outstanding contribution to the club by gaining an international vest at a major championships – and Gwylim Jones, a coaching institution at Bolton Harriers.