Olympic Lure Drives Arona Combined Events to Gold Standard

“My legs felt like matchsticks, it was painfull for me on the last stretch.” But still the smile remained after Holly Mills from Andover as sh was overtaken in the 800 metres final of the senior heptathlon at the Arona Combined Events weekend in the south of Tenerife. That dropped the 21 year old into fourth spot at the end of the meeting in the Estadio Antonio Dominguez near the beaches of Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Americas. . Zhen Ninali (below) clinched the top spot, only months after becoming naturalised Chinese after originally representing Canada, the country where she was born 22 years ago.Second place went to Maria Vicente with Noor Vidts of Belgium in third.

Holly recovered well and was soon weighing up the positives gathered from the two day event, to add to lessons learnt from the Covid restrictions.” I feel the disruptions to my training programme have given me more time to grow and figure out what areas I need to concentrate on. I was really pleased with the massive improvement in the javelin this weekend for a new personal best, and I have had a good indoor season after moving into the senior level of competition. “Arona Combined Events was a ranking competition so the overall points gained could propel athletes towards Tokyo. “I still have a lot to do in the next few weeks but i´ve shown myself that I am capable of a lot more to come. ” The big day for Olympic confirmation is on 1st July, so good luck to Holly to receive that landmark news.

Kate O´Connor competing for Ireland had a frustrating early end to her heptathlon after a leg injury kept her from completing her  final three events. it follows a complicated year. ” I was born in Newry in Northern Ireland but competed for Dundalk in the south and have also trained in Belfast and Dublin. The Covid measures were tough back home, even the national championships in Dublin didn´t allow for coaches to join the competitors. At least my studies in Sports Development at Sheffield University worked out well with course work done on line.” Kate was in upbeat mood after a first day that included a personal best in the shot put.

In the mens decathlon, there was a top two domination for the Czech Republic with Jiri Sycora taking top spot and Adam Helcelet (above) finishing just behind him. It was close all the way through the ten events but the duo both did particularly well in the high jump and javelin. It was the tenth Arona Combined Events , last year didn´t take place due to Covid. but it came back and coped admirably with the added restrictions. Athletes, coaches, and family members were the exclusive guests of the Andorra Hotel, just a short walk from the stadium. The Hospiten Green Clinic acted as a sponsor and took care of the PCR tests required before athletes could return home. Everything in the arena got constantly sprayed and wiped, the landing sand pit was squirted between jumps, and even the shot was soaked and wiped before its throwers could retrieve it.

This years tournement attracted 63 athletes from 19 countries as far away as Estonia, Switzerland, and Venezuela. The giant screen replayed the action, and it was available on line at laliga.com. In between races, a selection of Tenerife´s many natural attractions helped to bang the drum for tourism. None of that ever detracts from the legacy of this major sporting event. Local young hopefuls got valuable experince on the first day with races between the programmed challenges. It must be working, the weekend saw success elsewhere as the Caja Canarias Tenerife ladies athletics squad regained their place in the National League of Honour, and the mens squad confirmed their continuation in the top section , a status that goes back to 2008.