BASILDON AC team-mates Gemma Kersey and Kaylee Dodd ran on one of the biggest stages in athletics – the Diamond League.
The talented middle-distance pair were invited to run in the “On Camp with Kelly” 800m at the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace, which also included the capital’s Diamond League meet.
Kersey, 20, shone in the race, clocking 2m 6.41s over the two laps and taking off nearly two seconds of her best in the process.
“I am really happy I ran that time because it has taken me so long to break 2m 8s,” said Kersey, who prefers the 1,500m. “I have been waiting for that day. I was quite nervous beforehand as I’m not really an 800m runner but this race has given me confidence I can run 2m 5s before the end of the season.”
Team-mate Dodd, coming off the back of her silver medal at the English Schools’ Championships a week earlier, was performing in front of the biggest crowd of her life.
And the 16-year-old, from Wickford , felt she let the occassion get to her.
Dodd, who finished in 2m 10.33s, said: “It was a good experience although I didn’t run very well as I got myself too nervous. It is the biggest race I’ve done in terms of the size of the crowd. It was really exciting being there though around all the other athletes.”
Dame Kelly Holmes said: “It was a great race for all the girls to be involved in, very competitive.”
*GEMMA Kersey was back in action just four days after her 800m at Crystal Palace, running at the Welsh Athletics International in Cardiff.
Kersey was second behind the Kenyan Jane Jelegat in the 1,500m in a time of 4m 20.40s in blustery conditions in the Principality.
Also in action in Cardiff was Southend AC’s Adam Hickey, who was fourth in the 3,000m (8m 20.47s) and FitzWimarc School teacher Kate Cowley who was fourth in the women’s pole vault (3.70m).
Grays-baed Emmanuel Stephens won the men’s 100m (10.85s).