Great news from the Sussex and Surrey Combined Events Championships

An excellent couple of days at Sutton for the Sussex and Surrey Combined Events Championships with our 11 athletes bringing home 8 medals. We have done well at the Combined Events Championships over the last few years, but this was probably our best ever set of results. The work we do during August and early September in providing a wide range of coaching help to those athletes who enter the championships clearly helps. We hope that those who were tasting the event for the first time will be looking to come back next year.

I’m not quite sure where to start, but let’s start with Saturday’s events. Our under 13 boy – Danny O’Sullivan – and our three under 15 boys – Tom Dean, Jamie Osborne and Ben Beard – were doing all their 5 events (Pentathlon) on the Saturday. They started with the long jump where Jamie Osborne was close to his best with 5.12 metres while Tom Dean was down quite a bit on where he was expecting to be with 4.74 metres. Ben Beard jumped 4.02 metres and Danny 3.47 metres. Next up was the event that the boys were least looking forward to – the hurdles. None of the boys would claim to be comfortable over the hurdles and finishing the race in one piece was the main objective. Which they all accomplished – Jamie 14.14, Tom 14.17, Ben 17.09 in the 80 metres hurdles and Danny 16.42 in the 75 metres hurdles.

Then in the middle of the day it was the shot putt. Under 15 boys were on first and both Jamie and Tom were very pleased to go over 8 metres – 8.42 and 8.22 metres respectively. Ben was a bit below par with 7.12, while Danny found his shot putt very hard work, as we knew it would – 3.45 metres. Onto the high jump and a new pb for Tom with 1.56 metres with Jamie not far behind on 1.50. Ben, in his first competitive attempt at the high jump, was happy with his 1.35 meters and Danny recorded 1.06 metres.

Then the final event of the day – the 800 metres. For Tom and Danny this was familiar territory but for most of the athletes this is territory with much to be feared. Tom ran away from the start of the under 15 race and was a clear winner in just over 2 minutes 13 seconds with Jamie following some 17 seconds later and Ben a further 15 seconds after. In his under 13 race Danny was a good third in just under 2 minutes and 43 seconds.

Adding the points together for all 5 events saw Tom winning the under 15 event ahead of Jamie in second place and Ben just outside the medals in fourth place. The strong 800 run from Danny pushed him up to fourth place overall in the under 13 event.

During the afternoon Phil Rogers was also busy doing his 5 events in the veterans pentathlon. 32.80 metres in the javelin – just under his season’s best – got him under way and this was soon followed by an impressive long jump of 5.37 metres. Into the wind in the 200 metres the last 50 metres looked hard work as Phil came home in 27.64 seconds. To be followed by his first ever throw over 20 metres in the discus – 20.88. And then the dreaded 1500 metres to finish up with. The 6 minutes and 7 seconds it took Phil to complete the race looked horribly painful and probably felt longer. But when the points were added up Phil was in third place for the third medal of the day.

While all this was going on 3 of our girls were doing the first 4 of their 7 event heptathlon. They started with the hurdles – run into a bit of breeze. Abby Beswick hit the first hurdle hard in her under 17 80 metres but otherwise looked very crisp over the hurdles to record 11.89 seconds. Lois was a little disappointed with her 12.64 seconds in her race while under 20 Sarah Rusling’s 100 metres hurdles took her 21.39 seconds.

Onto the high jump and Lois led the way with a jump of 1.50 metres to equal her best ever and Abby with 1.44 and Sarah 1.41 might have both hoped to go a touch higher. The shot followed and Abby’s third throw went out to 10.49 metres to beat her own under 17 3k club record while Lois’ best was 8.54 metres. Sarah with the heavier 4k recorded 6.70 metres.

The final event of the Saturday was the 200 metres with the final 100 metres into what was a slightly stiffer breeze than it had been in the morning. Abby was comfortable in her race and did 26.70 seconds – she would have much preferred the wind behind her. Lois 28.19 and Sarah 28.44 were, given the wind, both solid runs.

Moving onto Sunday and we had Jemma Edgar and Erin Harnett in the under 13 girls event and Emmie Van Lieshout in the under 15 girls – all doing 5 events in the day and in the same order as the boys on Saturday. Emmie was pleased to go over 4 metres for the first time in the long jump, twice jumping 4.14 metres. Jemma saved the best for her last jump with 4.28 metres and Erin jumped 3.49 metres. Over the hurdles Emmie was just happy to complete the race in one piece and in her 75 metres race she did 15.94 seconds. Jemma and Erin are more used to hurdling and recorded 13.45 and 14.03 seconds in their 70 metres race.

Then the shot with Emmie pleased to throw 5.97 metres after nearly hitting one of the judges with her first throw. Jemma then went over 7 metres for the first time with 7.27 metres with Erin happily over 5 metres with 5.39. High jump and Emmie very pleased to clear 1.30 metres. Jemma would have hoped to go higher than 1.29 metres but on the other hand Erin’s 1.26 metres was 6 centimetres higher than she has managed in training.

And so to the 800 metres. Emmie was not looking forward to it but did manage to save some of her sprinting ability for the home straight as she came home in 3 minutes and 5 seconds. And both Jemma and Erin probably found their 800 metres race harder than they were expecting with Jemma coming home in just under 2 minutes and 50 seconds with Erin just over 3 minutes.

And then the anxious wait as the points were added up. And Emmie was very pleasantly surprised when she gained the bronze medal by coming third in the under 15 girls event while Jemma did even better as she won the under 13 girls event with Erin a very good sixth.

And while all this was happening the older girls came back at lunch-time on Sunday to complete the last 3 of their 7 events. Long jump was first up with hopes of good performances. And Abby got things moving with a new pb and new under 17 club record when she jumped 5.29 metres and Lois, after a foul with her first jump that looked about 5 metres, jumped 4.85 metres for a new pb. Sarah had 2 good jumps with a best of 4.89 metres. Onto the javelin and Lois’ recent impressive throwing continued. 31.49 metres with her second throw was an improvement of 30 centimetres over her own club record. Abby had us worried with a safe 14 metre throw followed by a no-throw. However the third one went out to a better looking 26.50 metres while Sarah’s best was just over 19 metres.

And so to the final 800 metres – which none of the girls were looking forward to. However they all got round in reasonable fashion with Abby leading the way with just under 2 minutes and 39 seconds with Lois not too far away 6 seconds later. In her race Sarah was just over 2 minutes and 50 seconds.

And it was then time to add up the points. In the Sussex Under 17 event Abby was a clear winner with a total of 4305 points to beat her own club record by about 150 points while Lois’ score of 3925 gave her second place in the Surrey Under 17 event. Sarah, also competing in the Surrey Championships, scored 2895 points for second place in their under 20 event.

So a great couple of days with lots of excellent performances, both from those who won medals and from those who didn’t. And as someone who was able, for once, to watch athletes competing – rather than acting as field judge – it was great to see our East Grinstead athletes in such a wide range of events. Thank you athletes – we’ll do it again next year.

Just a reminder that Tuesday evening training at Imberhorne School has now stopped. Some of our athletes, and especially those who have had a busy summer ,will be taking a break from training for 2 or 3 weeks before starting their winter work in preparation for 2015.

What’s happening over the next few days ?

Wednesday September 24 – Committee meeting at Imberhorne from 7.30.

Thursday September 25 – training for all at Imberhorne from 7.

Saturday September 27 – academy training at East Court from 10.30.

Sunday September 28 – first East Court session of the autumn/winter season. Meet 10.20 for prompt start at 10.30.

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