GreatCityGames, Manchester Diary: Athletics for healing, by Stuart Weir

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DSCN0066.JPGSeb Coe, President of IAAF, with Brendan Foster, Great Run, being interviewed, photo by Phil Oldham

Holly-Bradshaw-Manchester-CityGames-2017-Philip-Oldham-1250x750.jpgHolly Bradshaw clears 4.80 meters at GreatCityGames, photo by Phil Oldham

The Manchester CityGames were held on Friday, May 26, five days after a suicide bomber killed 22 and injured 69 at the Manchester Arena. The event was part of the way Manchesterites showed their resolve. Sometimes, just living and celebrating the good in daily life is an act of protest.

Thanks to Stuart Weir for writing this piece.

Great CityGames, Manchester

The Great CityGames went ahead as planned in Manchester but the proceedings started with a "moment of silence" to remember the victims of the week's terrorist attack. Having experienced rain at the World Relays in Bahamas, your correspondent found himself in Manchester in a very rare heat wave!

The stand-out performance of the evening was by Britain's Holly Bradshaw, who set a British outdoor record of 4.80m in the women's pole vault, a remarkable achievement given that she failed with her first two attempts at 4.55 - and changed her pole twice before succeeding with the final attempt.

Having grown up near Manchester, competing in the city this week had added significance for her. She said: "I stated my career in Manchester and trained here for 5 years so having lived here I was really upset about what happened and it meant a lot to me to get out and perform like that. I am so happy that so many people came out to support".

The events of the week were never far away with athletes wearing a yellow ribbon. Asha Philip, who won the 100m summed up the attitude of athletes, saying that her result was less important than just being there, adding, "We wore a ribbon and it was nice to acknowledge people. They will never be forgotten. Hopefully we can put a light on everyone's dark days and I hope that Manchester will be able to heal".

Other strong British performances included Greg Rutherford's win with 8.18 in the long jump and James Dasaolu in the 100 metres. Rutherford said: "It is very surprising! I did not expect that at all [two jumps over eight metres] but I am thrilled to bits. I actually managed to produce one of the best openings to the season that I have ever had. I'm only two centimetres off my record here at the Manchester CityGames so I'm pleased."

It was great to see former World and Olympic champion, Sally Pearson (Australia), fit and well again after a difficult few years. She won the 100m hurdles and also came second in the 100m.

Johny Dutch (USA) ran a PR in the 200m hurdles - OK it was the first time he had run this unusual distance. He enjoyed the experience, feeling that running the shorter distance could only help his speed for the 400. He said he had absolutely loved the atmosphere of the street event.

Tiffany Porter beat sister, Cindy in the 100m hurdles in the family championship but Sally Pearson took the race. Tiff said of her performance: ""To be honest, I'm actually pretty encouraged by that race. I actually had some really positive aspects, which I'm going to use and build upon, but I hit a hurdle and it was over after that. No excuses, but I'm looking forward to my next race".

WINNERS

Men

100m James Dasaolu 10.25

100m T44 Jonnie Peacock 10.91

150m Lykourgas-Stefanos Tsakonas 15.04

110m hurdles Orlando Ortega 13.50

200m hurdles Johny Dutch 22.48

Long Jump Greg Rutherford 8.18m

Women

100m Asha Philip 11.48

100m T44 Sophie Kamlish 13.24

100m hurdles Sally Pearson 12.81

Pole Vault Holly Bradshaw 4.80m

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