National Athletics League awards presented in Birmingham

Scott Lincoln, Hayley McLean, Jacob Paul and Amelia Strickler were named National Athletics League athletes of the year last night at the England Athletics Hall of Fame and Volunteer Awards in Birmingham.

On an evening when some of the legends of English athletics and the sport’s volunteers were honoured at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole (NEC), Thames Valley Harriers were also formally presented with their Premiership trophy.

Although Strickler was away training, Lincoln, McLean and Paul were present as their great performances this season were recognised at the annual end-of-season ceremony.

The awards were decided based on the best results on performance tables in the male track, male field, female track and female field performances.

Lincoln was named male field performer of the year for his 19.73m shot put for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers in May. It is the second year in a row he has claimed the honour.

Likewise, Strickler won female field performance of the season again. She had a best result of 17.70m at the Hendon third-round match on one of her three appearances for TVH this season.

Paul claimed male athlete of the year with his 49.89 for the 400m hurdles at the Manchester Regional Arena opening match for Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow. It was one of two appearances he made in the league in his build-up to competing for Britain at the European Athletics Championships.

Fellow one-lap hurdler McLean was female track athlete of a season in which she put in raced eight times individually in various events for Shaftesbury, topped by her 56.46 in her specialist discipline in the third round at Hendon.

Paul said: “It was as an honour to follow in the footsteps of both my training partners, Chris McAlister and Jessie Knight, who won the awards last year. It really does mean a lot to us to compete for our clubs at the NAL. It’s amazing to compete as part of a team, and my club Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow are incredibly supportive.

“Competing in Manchester at the NAL in 2022 was a really key part of my season, it was the fastest time I’d ran since 2019 due to a serious Achilles injury disrupting my 2020 and 2021 season. Running sub 50s again gave me a lot of confidence and something to build on throughout the rest of the season.”

Jacob Paul, Hayley McLean and Scott Lincoln
Jacob Paul, Hayley McLean and Scott Lincoln

He says he plans to compete in two NAL matches in 2023. He added: “In my event in particular we have a really strong group of athletes a competing against each other, I think it’s really important to have that high level of competition within the UK.”

McLean likewise recognised the part played by the NAL in a season in which she reached the semi-final at the Europeans.

“It was such a lovely evening hosted by England Athletics that celebrated such amazing talent with a wide range of people, from athletes to officials,” she said. “NAL fixtures are among the first to go in my competition diary, as I very much enjoy the team aspect with SBH when competing. They will be definitely featuring in my 2023 plans. The competition in the NAL is at a very high standard, as well as the venues, which have all contributed to me running quick times this year.”

Thames Valley were also celebrated for the defence of their Premiership tropy, which came after four match wins. Middle-distance runner Alex Mundell and hurdler Jess Tappin were among several athletes presented with the silverware.