ATHLETICS: Seven world masters gold medals for Copson

Angela Copson with her world masters medals in Malaga
Angela Copson with her world masters medals in Malaga

Rugby & Northampton athlete dominates over 70s competition

Amazing athlete Angela Copson came away with seven gold medals and a bronze at the World Masters Athletic Championships held in Malaga, Spain.

Her Rugby & Northampton club mate Simon Bickers also clinched one medal of each colour.

Copson was competing in her first World Championships in the W70 category and entered herself in six individual events starting with the 6k Cross Country.

She once again reigned supreme on this surface to win the race by almost two minutes with 27:27 from New Zealand’s Judith Stewart (29:25), to make it 32 consecutive cross country events unbeaten.

Four days later she claimed her first ever world title on the road in a 10k time of 45:38 with Stewart in second again on 49:23.

Her attention then turned to the track with the 800m being the first of four events and with Copson already the world record holder in this event she would start as favourite.

She duly took her first outdoor world title for the distance with 2:54.63 to win by 13 seconds.

The next day Copson lined up for the 5000m final and annihilated the whole field with a time of 22:08.19. Judith Stewart had to settle for her third silver medal on 23:57.48.

Later that same day the 71- year-old recorded 79.27 in the 400m semi-final and became the fastest qualifier.

The final two days later was what Angela described as “the most exciting” when she was pushed all the way by New Zealand’s Sheryl Gower and Finland’s Maija Kumpula.

With a late surge down the home straight Copson just edged out Gower with a new British W70 record of 77.47 to Gower’s 77.76. Kumpula won bronze in 78.57. It was the R&N athlete’s first ever world title over this distance.

The sixth and final individual event for Copson came on the last day of the Championships with the 1500m. The world record holder stormed round the track to win by a full 30 seconds in 5:48.07.

For good measure she then took part in the two sprint relays for Great Britain & Northern Ireland with the squad clinching the bronze in the 4x100m with 78.13 and then Copson won a seventh gold in the 4x400m ( 6:07.79).

Simon Bickers was competing in the M55 age group and he won his semi-final of the 800m in 2:11.08 making him the fastest qualifier.

The final proved to be an exciting finish with just one tenth of a second covering the three medallists. Bickers improved on his semi-final time,but was just pipped by the USA’s Ray Knerr who recorded 2:09.90 to Bickers 2:09.95 with Giuseppe Ugolini of Italy 2:10.00. Bickers is now currently ranked no.1 outdoors in the UK for 800m.

The 400m saw Bickers win his semi-final in 55.85 secs to rank him second in the UK behind the fastest qualifier Jonathan Tilt. In the final, Tilt improved on his time to win the title in 54.71 with John Wright (55.95), just edging out Bickers (55.97) for a Great Britain clean sweep.

With Kermitt Bentham in fifth spot this would prove a formidable quartet in the 4x400m relay, which they won in a new European record of 3:42.42 to defeat the USA by nine seconds and give Bickers his first gold of the Championships.