Chichester youngsters pass athletics test against the best

Nicole Boltwood in sportshall action for Chi Runners / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Nicole Boltwood in sportshall action for Chi Runners / Picture by Lee Hollyer

Chichester’s juniors had their first opportunity to show their indoor form in the opening fixture in the Sussex Sportshall League against strong opposition from Crawley, Horsham and Haywards Heath.

With the same age groups as for the outdoor track during the summer, two members of the club’s high-flying boys’ under-15 team showed their prowess as all-rounders in the fixture at at Tanbridge House School, Horsham.

Ben Collins enjoyed a change from leading the cross-country fields to tackle the four-lap indoor race, which takes less than a minute to run, and was a very close runner-up to one of his Brighton rivals.

He gained the same result in the standing long jump, on this occasion supported by Michael Ackerman who also threw a 10m shot putt for another close second.

For the girls in the same age group, Rosie Compton and Olivia Moranne put in useful performances both on the track and in the jumps and were undaunted by the standard of competition, which included UK record holder over 300m Amber Anning from the Brighton & Hove club.

Jess Rayner and Emily Shipham were part of Chichester’s under-13s last summer and led from the front at Horsham with good support from Fleur Hollyer, Maggie King and Nicole Boltwood.

Their all-round strength picked up good points in the two-lap sprint, six-lap middle-distance race as well as long jump, speed bounce and vertical jump.

Tom Cohen looked on good form in the sprints for the under-13 boys’ team and was well supported by Charlie Sharpe in the six-lap race.

Amid a host of very talented under-11s on show from the five clubs, Nathan Kaokan and Grant Laurie both performed with credit in making their first competitive appearances for the club while Sophie Dudman, Lucy Hollyer and Sophie Sharpe did equally well in the girls’ events.

* While the cross-country scene takes a break this weekend for club athletics, it is the turn of the road runners to make their mark with the popular Gosport Half Marathon certain to have its usual large field of quality club runners.

If he has recovered from his Poppy Half Marathon win last weekend, James Baker will be among the favourites, especially as the Gosport race holds a strong affection for the Chichester man, whose personal best time of just outside 68 minutes for the 13-mile distance was set over this course.

Runners needing a challenge over a shorter distance will be heading to Brighton for the equally-popular Brighton 10k. Both races are on Sunday.


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