Rory Leonard of Morpeth Harriers was only a few strides away from an England Athletics Silver Medal,
when he was sensationally tripped from behind by Swansea Harrier Conor Smith in the Under 20 Men’s 3000m
at the combined Under20/Under 23 Track & Field Championships at Bedford County Stadium
on Saturday 16th June 2018.
Leonard always held a front running position in the seven and a half lap event and was very much in control of things at the bell, going away from eventual winner James Vincent of Cardiff with 300m remaining.
As the finish straight was reached Leonard dug deeply as Vincent challenged.
Vincent came wide as the finish line beckoned, eventually kicking away for Gold.
Meanwhile Leonard kept a true line remaining on the edge of Lane One, but with around 15 metres remaining, Smith went for the narrowest of gaps close to the inside, and clipped the heels of Leonard, which brought the pair of them to the floor with around 15 metres remaining, ruining the chances of a medal for either of them.
Unfortunately, the proximity of others around them meant that they lost vital places,
despite being able to pick themselves up, otherwise unscathed.
Whilst Smith ran through to finish fifth in 9m16.0s, Leonard finished sixth in 9m16.9s,
disappointingly and frustratingly left to rue his lost chance.
Thankfully for Leonard, no injury was sustained, and he will live to fight another day,
in a season that up to now, has been going very well.