Javelin joy as Ratcliffe bags World Masters bronze medal in France

Trevor Ratcliffe won bronze in the VM50 javelin at the World Masters Athletics Championships. Picture (c) Gary Mitchell
Trevor Ratcliffe won bronze in the VM50 javelin at the World Masters Athletics Championships. Picture (c) Gary Mitchell

Dacorum & Tring AC veteran athlete Trevor Ratcliffe won bronze in the VM50 javelin at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Lyon, France – two weeks after becoming national champion in the British Masters Championships, where he easily won with a throw of 55.37m.

Trevor is no stranger to both World and European Masters Championships, having won bronze, silver and gold in previous years, and he easily bettered the automatic qualifying distance of 51m with a throw of 55.98m on his first qualifying throw.

I am very proud of my bronze medal and my throw as I had to beat the best throwers in the world to attain it.

Trevor Ratcliffe

He said: “It was important to get a good first-round mark and surpass the qualifying distance to make the other competitors take note and to stake my claim on a medal in the final.”

Going into the final, Trevor was ranked behind five of the other finalists, but having qualified in second place was in a great position to cause an upset in the world rankings.

“My first-round throws are usually my best so I like to get out a big throw and make the rest of the field try to chase,” he said. “In the final I had a ‘no-throw’ in round 1 and a poor second round of just 51m that put me into eighth position and in danger of not making the cut for the final three rounds, so not the best start.

“The third round had to be a good one, and it was. I knew it was good because of the cheers from the GB supporters in the stands and was expecting around 56m to see me into the final three rounds, so when it was measured at 58.57m – a PB and club record for this weight – I was ecstatic as it moved me into the medal places.”

That distance proved to be Trevor’s best of the day and meant he claimed the bronze medal, 3m behind Torsten Heinrich of Germany in gold but just 4cm behind Timo Tikka, the silver medallist from Finland.

“Overall I am very proud of my bronze medal and my throw as I had to beat the best throwers in the world to attain it,” concluded Trevor.

“It’s been a tough couple of years for me. My father and lifelong coach passed away a couple of years ago and this was my first major competition since then, so I dedicate the medal to his memory as I know his help and guidance set me in great stead to compete as I did.”

Trevor’s throw of 58.57m is not only a PB and club record for the 700g javelin and his age group, but it also ranks him second on the Great Britain all-time list and has moved him up to fifth in the world rankings for 2015.

In other news, the Dacorum & Tring AC ladies’ and men’s team finished top at the final match of the 2015 Southern Athletics League season, held at Jarman Park.

The club had been in fourth place going into the match and needed to finish first to be in with a shot at promotion to Division 2 for the 2016 season – and grabbed the win by 2½ points, ahead of Medway on 313, Colchester on 312, Ilford on 161½ and Braintree on 157.

Nationally-ranked hurdles star Phillipa Lowe secured the most points for the ladies’ team, with 18, while Ratcliffe was top for the men on 23 points.

Philly scored wins in the 200m A in 12.1s, 400m A in 57.5s and 400m hurdles A in 62.4s, and also anchored the 4x400m relay, taking the baton well behind in fourth place and running a scorching leg to come home in second position.

Also securing wins for the ladies’ team were Lauren Evans in the 100m hurdles B (23.5), the high jump B (1.30m) and the pole vault B (2.10m); Jess O’Sullivan, in the pole vault A (2.90m) and the 100m hurdles A (18.7); Zoe Williams in the high jump A (1.48m); Charlotte Radcliffe in the triple jump B (10.35m); Caitlin Filby in the discus A (23.80m); and Cherry Halfyard in the long jump B (4.41m).

For the men’s team, first places went to Ratcliife in the javelin A (52.65m), the hammer A (30.05m) and the discus B (30.03m); Chris Line in the shot put B (a PB of 20.37m) and the hammer B (29.53m); Shaun Wall in the javelin B (45.04m); Eliot Copperwhite in the 100m A (11.3); and Matt Williams in the pole vault B (3.20m).

Club secretary Diane Ratcliffe commended the athletes, remarking that it was a ‘brilliant finish to a very successful season.’