Athletes on top of the world

Feature - Ellena Ruddock, Jean Fail and Roy Humphries
Feature - Ellena Ruddock, Jean Fail and Roy Humphries

TWO athletes are celebrating great success at the World Masters Indoor Championships in Finland.

Ellena Ruddock became over 35s world champion at the 60m and 200m as well as anchoring the relay to gold. And Jean Fail won silver in the 60m hurdles and brought the over 60s relay team home in a new world record time.

Both are coached by Roy Humphries, who in his 40 years of coaching has enjoyed success at all levels from international and Olympic athletes to English Schools, area and county - and now for the first time, Masters.

Like all dedicated coaches who freely give their time, their reward is the success of their athletes.

And Roy is very proud of both Ellena and Jean’s achievements.

He has been coaching former Great Britain international sprinter Ellena for 22 years.

Now 36 years old and still competing at the highest level, the Masters has opened up a completely new era. Having won the Midland Senior Indoor 60m and 200m titles in February, Ellena moved onto the British Masters Championships in London four weeks ago, winning both the 60m and 200m titles, to confirm her status as the best 36-year-old in the UK. Two weeks ago she went to the World Masters Indoor Championships in Finland at Jyvaskla, which were held over six days.

In the 60m sprint, Ellena won her semi-final comfortably in 7.95 secs, and the following day she won the Final in 7.81 secs, to become World Masters Indoor Champion.

The following day it was the 200m event, where Ellena won her semi-final in 25.94 secs, and in the Final that was held later, she won her second World Masters Indoor Championship, in 25.47 secs. That success did not stop there, as four days later, on the final day of the championship, it was the 4x 200m relay. With Ellena on the final lap, she opened up a winning lead of 30 metres, to bring the Great Britain team in ahead of the USA team, to win in 1 min 51.29 secs, to give her, her third gold medal.

Going into the championships with the fastest times in the world this year, Ellena admits she felt nervous, even after more than 20 years of competition.

“I have been running consistently well and my starts have just fallen into place this year and I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” she said.

She is very grateful to Nick Wright, osteomologist for his help in keeping her in good shape for to compete.

n Jean, 62, worked with Roy and Ellena since last June, also went to the championships, despite being very ill ten days before the event.

Like Ellena, Jean won the British Masters Indoor Championships in London at the 60m hurdles and long jump in the over 60s category titles. In Finland Jean was just pipped by only 0.05 secs to take the silver medal in the over 60m hurdles recording 10.77 secs. But in the over 60 women’s 4x200m relay, Jean, just like Ellena, was on the anchor leg, with the whole GB team excelling themselves to win in a time of 2 mins 11.52 secs to win gold, and in the process establish a new world record for the event.

Jean, who also won gold at the world outdoor championships last July, was a little disappointed not to have added the indoor title, but did well to compete at all after being so ill just before.

Jean has been competing since 1989 and a member of Rugby & Northampton AC for the last couple of seasons. She is planning to run at the European Championships this summer.