The rain poured and the wind blew but spirits stayed high and there were some great performances from Sussex athletes on the first day of the Combined Events Championships at Sutton’s David Weir Arena.
An exciting 800m finale in the Under 13 boys pentathlon was one of the highlights of their competition. Ten boys were competing across the day including some of the county’s top young athletes.Horsham’s Seb Wallace took an early lead with personal bests (PB’s) in the Long Jump (5.17m), 75m Hurdles and Shot, closely followed by Crawley and Brighton all-rounders Daniel Tewogbade and Arthur Haines.
Wallace had never High Jumped before, so there was the potential for Tewogbade and Haines who are both strong in this event, to regain some points. Wallace had other ideas. He jumped a magnificent 1.54m to take him into the top six in the UK rankings and give him a near 300 points lead going into the final event – the 800m. Meanwhile a mere six points separated Haines and Tewogbade in second and third but as any multi eventer knows, the last race is the ‘giant killer’, where anything can happen.
There were two athletes who had slowly but surely been plugging away, who could potentially mix things up. Chichester’s Oliver Beach – another first timer at High Jump had achieved a fine 1.45m and won the shot with 8.82m and Crawley’s Thomas Kimber – with PB’s set in every event so far – were the only sub 2:30 athletes in the field. They both rose to the occasion, taking the lead from the start and battling to the end with Beach running close to his PB to win in 2:28.46 from Kimber’s 2:31.12.Much further down the field Haines ran 2:46 and Wallace was last over the line in 2:54.
This result changed everything. Despite only scoring 92 points from the 800m, Wallace’s lead was large enough to secure the Championship title and take him to the top of the UK rankings with a final score of 1851. Tewogbade, with a solid 2:42.7 800m, moved up to silver with 1651 points and Kimber’s 800m time saw him pip Haines to the bronze medal by just 13 points with 1625.
In the Senior Women’s Heptathlon Brighton’s Becky Owen and her coach and new clubmate W45 Julia Machin would start day two in first and second place. Owen posted solid performances across with a 14.92 100mH, 1.57m High Jump, 10.64m Shot and 26.57s 200m. Machin’s highlight was a 1.60m High Jump in blustery conditions.