It was another hot evening in Dubai but that didn’t stop the athletes putting on impressive displays in the final round of the Ultimate Athletics’ Race Night on Thursday.
More than 200 participants descended on Dubai Sports City for the sixth and last round of the 2017/18 season, which began back in October.
One of the main events of the night was the Ultimate 60m Masters final. Designed for men above 30 years, who don’t necessarily train in athletics, the fastest eight of the previous five Race Nights qualified for the title decider.
And it was Rafael Roots who reigned supreme winning the duel in 7.31 seconds. The 34-year-old is a coach for Nike Running Club and said it was a “great feeling” to be running again after stopping when he was younger.
“It’s been a long time. I used to do athletics when I was a kid and then I stopped because I got injured when I was 24,” he said. “Then I came back to do running again.
“I want to say a big thank you to Lisa (Campbell, founder of Ultimate Athletics) and everyone for bringing us together. They took the initiative and it’s really kicked off. It’s a great feeling to run here and brings back some memories.”
In the Junior division, it was a season to remember for Anabel Kimmel Wessollek and Yannick Kraus. Not only did they win multiple disciplines on Thursday, they also got their hands on a series of medals for their record-breaking feats.
For Kimmel Wessollek, she won the 80m, 150m and 300m duels as well, holding the record at Under-9 level in the 150m, 80m, 300m, hurdles and high jump.
“It feels really great to have won many medals,” she said, who along with other winners received her medals from Dannish Walker-Khan – a member of the winning U23 GB 4x100m team at the European Championships in 2013.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work and I train every Friday morning. I really enjoy sprinting and doing the high-jump and my aim is to keep improving and hopefully compete in the Olympics.”
For Kraus, the 11-year-old was first in the 80m, 150m, 300m and javelin. That’s no surprise considering the finished the season as the record holder in all those four events as well as the high jump, shotput and hurdles.
“It’s very exciting and I always try my best,” he said. “I sometimes get nervous before but I always had faith in myself. I want to continue developing and I hope to make an impact like Usain Bolt as I like the way he runs.”
He added: “This Ultimate Athletics season has been great. It makes you learn new things. When I first started, I didn’t know what the high jump was and now in two years, I can jump 1.38m.”
In the senior division, Megan Dingle tested herself in the 3,000m race and was the quickest female after clocking 11:22:21. The 14-year-old, who regularly competes in the 800m and 1,500m on Race Nights, was pleased by how she fared.
“I’ve been quite sick before and the heat didn’t help but I’m pleased with how I did,” she said. “It’s been a tough couple of weeks with exams but everyone’s in the same position.”
Conor O’Donovan triumphed in the 800m race with a time of 1:59:87 and the Irishman was pleased by how he ended the season.
“It was good. I was aiming below two minutes and I hit that a couple of months ago and now back with a time of 1.59 so it’s been pretty good,” said the 17-year-old.
“My season was very up and down. I started playing the season playing rugby and it was really physical and my running didn’t improve for quite a while. I got to that peak around three months ago and now I’m there.”
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