Chichester athletes scoop county track and field medals

Sophie Dudman (farthest from camera) flies over the hurdles / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Sophie Dudman (farthest from camera) flies over the hurdles / Picture by Lee Hollyer

Athletes had to contend with a mixture of weather conditions over the two days of the Sussex county track and field championships at Crawley.

Several of Chichester’s athletes were in action on both days, competing against the best athletes in the county and trying to impress the Sussex selectors for inclusion in the county squads for inter-county honours later in the season.

A squad of 21 Chichester athletes came away with a clutch of Sussex medals including three golds and a host of personal bests.

All three individual golds came in the men’s section of the programme and were spread over three different age groups.

One of the most active athletes of the whole weekend was Chichester’s Oliver Beach who tackled four events in the under-15 age group. Having already shown fine form in the club’s opening league match of the season at the same venue, Beach was in action on the track and after a 2min 20sec clocking in the 800m, set a new personal best of 40.43sec to gain silver in the 300m.

Multi-talented Beach gained another silver in the shot with a 10.47m effort before striking gold in the discus with a throw of 32.82, just 17cm ahead of his nearest rival. This throw propels Beach into 11th place in the UK rankings.

A squad of 21 Chichester athletes came away with a clutch of Sussex medals including three golds and a host of personal bests.

In the under-17s, Cellan Robinson confirmed recent good club form with a speedy 100m in the heats which gained him a place in the final, while Liam Dunne doubled up in the 800m and 1500m run on separate days.

A battling run of just outside two minutes gained him a bronze in the 800m was followed by an inspired 1500m where Dunne did battle with Crawley’s Joe Smith, winner of the 800m. Smith prevailed but Dunne knocked more than ten seconds off his best from 2017 with a time of 4min 4.8sec.

Chichester’s middle-distance under-20 pairing of Leo Stallard and Ben Morton had a good battle in the 5000m finishing first and second, over a minute in front of their nearest rival. Their impressive times of 16.16 and 16.17 push them into the UK top 20 for the season.

In the same race, Chichester’s two seniors put up a good showing with Chris Bird clocking 15.39 in tenth place in the senior race with Justin Eggins 17th at 18.20.

There was local interest in the 400m with Ollie Smith winning the senior title in under 50 seconds. This will give the ex-Chichester athlete, who now runs for British league club Harrow, such a boost for the rest of the season after injury problems in the past couple of years.

In a minithon for the under-13 age group Josh Dunne showed good form over a mixture of track and field events.

Chichester women produced some outstanding performances over the full range of track and field.

The under-15 age group saw Fleur Hollyer narrowly miss out qualifying for the 100m final – however she more than made up for it in the 200m heats, with a great new 27.55sec personal best to take her through to the final, finishing seventh.

A strong run in the heats (12.38sec) saw Sophie Dudman comfortably qualify for the 75m hurdles final – where she finished an agonisingly close fourth.

Olivia Toms was just edged out of a medal with a fourth place in the 1500m with a good time of 5.01.98. In the same event Isobel Buckler, Cerys Dickinson and Eva Buckler all went under 5.30.

Dickinson also ran in the 800m with Nicole Boltwood and was Chichester’s most active athlete of the weekend competing in 300m, shot and long jump.

In the under-17s, Phoebe Pontet took a creditable fifth place (13.58sec) in the 80m hurdles final, and later went on to also qualify for the 100m final. Emily Russell set new personal bests in both the 300m (46.18sec) and the 200m (28.00sec)

Maggie King was again sub-2.30 in the 800m while thrower Lucie Munday, after finishing fifth in the discus, set a new personal best of over 24m in the hammer for a well-deserved silver.

Florence Smith (under-20), who has only recently focused on the triple jump, gained valuable experience, sailing out to 8.88m for sixth position. Also in the under-20 age group Imogen Matthews ran a PB of 5.14 in the 1500m.

Twelve-year-old Amelie McGurk, competing in the under-13s minithon, recorded a sparkling new 800m PB of 2min 40.58sec. Lucy Hollyer, in the same competition, recorded a 24.40sec PB clocking for the 150m.

PHIL BAKER & DAVID CHURCHER

Sussex Under-13 League

Taking advantage of an extra under-13 match before the next national league fixture, five Chichester boys travelled to Crawley for the first Sussex League evening match of the season.

Josh Dunne and Hal Edgar produced the best two results of the day with a near-clean sweep in the 600m with Dunne running just under 1min 50sec for the distance. The same athlete won the long jump later.

Max Sydenham was impressive in the 1000m while Micah Campbell showed good speed in the sprints with Marcus Bone getting good experience in the hurdles.

The quartet of Sydenham, Dunne, Edgar and Campbell combined well in the 4x100m relay.