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Sussex Athletics Track & Field Championships

A squad of 20 Chichester athletes were in action over the weekend 11th/12th May 2019 at the K2 Stadium in Crawley and emerged with a total of ten medals between them including five gold as County Champions.

 

Not only did the competitors have to battle against the best in the county but those in action on Saturday had to contend with torrential rain and a hailstorm.

 

U20’s

The club’s most successful medal haul came in the U20 age group where all five Chichester competitors came away with medals. Leo Stallard had a surprise win in the 1500m by posting a new personal best time of 4.08.92, a full second clear of his nearest rival. Over the longer 5000m, Ned Potter knew than a victory was a tall order as the field included Brighton’s Tomer Tarragano, one of the top distance runners in the country in his age group. Ned stuck to his task over the 12 and a half laps and was delighted with a 2nd place in a new personal best time of 15.50.34 which lifts him to 12th in the UK for his age group. Alfie Spurle was another to pick up a silver medal, this time in the triple jump with 11.32m, his third competition over 11 metres inside a week.

 

For the U20 women, it was Lucie Munday who struck gold in the discus with a new lifetime best of 28.25m, a distance which lifts her inside the UK top 50 for 2019. The fifth member of the club’s U20 squad, Florence Smith, was just outside her best set a week earlier at Walton but her 9.59m was good enough for another silver medal.

 

U17’s

Going into these championships, two of the clubs’ U17s’ were the most likely to gain medals and neither of them disappointed, winning their events in convincing fashion. Liam Dunne had his eyes on the 800m having run a sub 1.59 clocking at Millfield Schools the previous weekend in a graded competition. However, championship races are often a matter of tactics, especially as the strength of the field at Crawley meant that heats were needed before the final. Trying to conserve energy but not wanting to take any chances regarding qualification, Liam eased through to win his heat in a respectable 2.03.36 which proved to be the fastest of the day. In the final he was able to summon his finishing speed in the home straight to strike gold in 2.00.13, a fine time in the conditions.

 

With barely 24 hours rest, the 16-year old returned on the Sunday to line up in the 1500m. Anticipating another close race, Liam started at a reasonable pace and was surprised to find that no-one else was prepared to follow his lead. Keeping up the pressure, the next three laps were a solo run with the Chichester man breaking the tape in 4.04.8, an amazing 15 seconds clear of the rest of the field who were just entering the home straight. The icing on the cake was the fact that Liam’s time was not only a new personal best but lifts him to 15th in the UK rankings. In the same 1500m race, multi-talented Archie Sadler was delighted to knock a full 13 seconds from his previous best with a time of 4.55.86.

 

It was in the field events where the three U17 golds were struck with Ollie Beach another to improve his best in the discus with a throw of 37.68m to lift him to the top 30 in the UK rankings and 7th of those who have just come up from last season’s U15 age group. For the girls it was Elise Pullen who came away with silver on countback in the high jump with all three medallists having a best jump of 1.50m. Brooklyn Santer-Smith was just outside the medals in a high-quality hammer competition but was delighted with a 9.96m best in the shot put for third place. Also, just outside the medals was Fleur Hollyer with fourth in the 200m and Nicole Boltwood who was just outside 2.30 with a 2.31.44 clocking in the 800m.

 

 

U15’s & U13’s

Although the younger two age groups did not add to the medal tally, there were a number of promising performances from the six athletes in action. For the boys, Harvey McGuiness and Joe McLarnon were in action in the 1500m with Harvey McGuiness just missing out on the medals with a fine 4th place in a new personal best time of 4.38.27. Joe McLarnon was 8th in one of the largest fields of the day in a season’s best of 4.47.55.

 

Sophie Dudman ran a good 100m and was unlucky in the girls 75m hurdles having set a fast- qualifying time in the heats in a new best time of 12.3 seconds, a time which ranks her just outside the top 50 in the UK.  In what is a very technical event, she lost her stride pattern in the final and was not able to contend for a medal. In the middle-distance events, Cerys Dickinson continued her good season’s form with a sub 2.30 clocking in the 800m with 2.28.09 for 8th place while Tamsin Anelay was 17th in the 1500m in 5.50 06.

 

For the U13’s Josh Dunne was 8th out of 40 competitors in the minithon, which involved for him a long jump, shot put and 800m. While the first two events were fairly average, Josh sped round the 800m in 2 25.21, the fastest of the day and a time which will lift him high into the UK rankings.

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