Nenagh, Saturday February 13th – We had one Sportsworld athlete (Packie Enright) at the universities indoor track & field championships at the weekend )www.iuaa.org). Representing the college he graduated from in October (the DIT) as a one year down, he elected to avoid the stiff competition at the running events and partake in the combined events; consisting of 5 events in which he had absolutely no prior experience. His reason for doing this is because last year, they were only two competitiors at the pentathlon, so Enright saw it as a chance to score some points for the college by just turning up. However his cunning plan backfired, and this year it was well populated with genuine combined eventers and all year round track athletes.
As a sport, combined events is certainly no soft touch; it ranks up there with the toughest of them. It’s for powerfully built people that usually don’t have the talent to be victorious at one of the single events. Training for it is like a full time job – Moscow 80 & LA 84 decathlon champion Daley Thompson used to spend his day at the track, and I’m sure Jessica Ennis does the same. Thankfully it didn’t drag onto two days or more like it usually does.
The first event for Enright was the high jump, and three failures at the minimum opening height of 1.30m meant that he’d no points bagged; in fact the only thing he was going away with was a sliced lower back and metal burn from the outdated aluminium bar. The thing was that if he scissor kicked it he would probably have got over, but he tried a pathetic attempt at a Fosbury flop using the wrong takeoff foot (or maybe even off two feet which would have been a foul). However it’s a technical event rather than a talent-based one, and with practice it can be mastered to jumping far above your own height.
Next up were the nipple high (1.10m) sprint hurdles. Now lanes, high hurdles, starting blocks, false starts, pressure applied to the blocks, reaction times, dipping at the line, photo finishes, steward’s enquiries; what would a road runner know about any of these? Not a thing. Well in fact Enright easily cleared all five of them with plenty to spare, and survived it. When people clip or knock them (or fall) it’s because they want to just glide over them rather than expending too much vertical energy (which slows you down of course).
Then there was the long jump, another technical event for explosive people who have superb speed. An average showing here by Enright, but there were plenty of other novices in the same ball park of 4m. Better long jumpers firstly generate superb velocity on the straight. Then after foot plant they push all their weight upwards from the thigh/gluteal areas, and their momentum gains them the distance. People not up on the technique tend to stay lower to the ground, kind of like running through it instead of jumping.
Getting hungry at this stage, but there was no time for food as it was into the concrete block throwing festival (or shot putt as it’s usually known). Up against big huge rugby guys that would rather be in the pub watching the France match than in a Baltically cold converted hay barn, Enright gave as good as he got here too. Or maybe we should re-phrase that – stick with cross country running. His last throw was a foul as the ball had left his jaw before leaving the circle. Another words you must push it out, rather than a hooked style soccer goalkeeper’s long throw.
Having been on the first bus down from Dublin at cock crow, at 18:30 the final event of the elongated day took place – a 1 kilometre run. Enright had been looking forward to this all day as a revenge opportunity on the rest of the lads. Their aerobic fitness wouldn’t have a patch on someone running 60m a week and that’s from a specialist running club. Would it not? Well Enright found himself last at the gun after an aggressive opening lap of 27 seconds. The Sportsworld representative went through in 30-31, but even this felt too fast. But bit by bit he managed to pick people off, reminding himself along the way that this was his event over the rest of them. It wasn’t though, as it was won by a 400m hurdler who, if kept going for another three laps would have ran a 4:09 mile.
And so it was to the end of proceedings. With the top six competitors getting points for their college in every event, Enright failed to score any points for his college (only two out of our four athletes did). Mission failed. Moral of the story – don’t attempt competing in something that you haven’t trained for. Applies to everything. However he set some DIT records that will hopefully be around for a long time to come.
IUAA Indoor Male Combined Events 2010
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Do i need to say who the report is by?