Chichester athletes strike gold at Sussex championships

Alyssa Whyte, Sophie-Anne Haigh and Rachel Laurie / Picture by Peter Haigh
Alyssa Whyte, Sophie-Anne Haigh and Rachel Laurie / Picture by Peter Haigh

Chichester Runners & AC had a strong turnout at the Sussex track and field championships at the K2 in Crawley.

And their 16 athletes returned home with a crop of medals – including four golds – and some impressive personal-best performances.

She recorded the same time to win gold – leaving the rest of the field behind in her wake.

Alyssa White (under-15) completed a magnificent sprint double – winning her heat of the 100m in a sparkling new 12.4sec PB before going on to the final and convincingly take the gold medal in 12.6sec.

The 200m heats saw her post another great new PB winning time of 25.7sec and in the final, she recorded the same time to win gold – leaving the rest of the field behind in her wake.

Sophie-Anne Haigh (under-17) clearly demonstrated that any winter injury problem is firmly behind her. She won her heat of the 100m in 12.6sec, and with a superb start out the blocks in the final, she took gold in a wonderful new PB of 12.3sec, just edging out Eastbourne athlete Sophia Cunningham.

This new personal best puts Haigh inside the UK top 10 and is likely, together with White, to have booked her place to the English Schools championships later in the season.

Her 200m was equally impressive, winning the heat in 25.6sec – a time she repeated in a very close dip-finish final to take silver. Orla Brothers from Crawley pipped her by crossing the line in 25.4.

Rachel Laurie (under-15), making her championships debut, did much more than just give a good account of herself – rising to the occasion, she won her heat of the 300m in a new PB of 42.9sec and then went on to lower it again in the final to 42.8sec to claim the silver medal.

The 200m saw her record a great new PB of 26.9sec to win her heat, before taking a fully-deserved well-won bronze medal in the final.

In the under-17 women’s age group, Grace Wills smashed her previous PB in the 1,500m by seven seconds to finish fifth in 5.13.7. Fellow middle-distance runner Charlotte Reading clocked a time of 2.28.8 for a good silver medal in the under-20 800m.

There was mainly middle-distance representation from Chichester in the men’s events but the best result was from Ollie Smith who was much too good for the rest of the field in the senior men’s 400m and came home well clear with a time of 49.0.

While not as fast as his times in the recent British Universities championships, another sub-50-second run was further proof of Smith’s consistency this season.

James Baker found himself in one of the most competitive 5,000m races for several years and was pushed into seventh behind winner Kevin Rojas from Brighton & Hove, whose time of just outside 15 minutes reflected his good marathon form this year.

Baker’s time was a respectable 15.49 and the form of last week’s Bognor 10k was repeated as he once again got the better of Graham Godden from Brighton & Hove, who finished a place behind him at Bognor.

Running at the same time as the seniors, Harry Pink set a new personal best of of 18.23.5 for bronze in the under-20 5,000m.

There was good Chichester representation in the under-17 1,500m with Sam Pink leading the club home just outside the medals in fourth place in 4.37.3.

With the field tightly packed, Brodie Keates was next home in seventh in 4.39 followed by Luke Campbell (eighth) in 4.42.3 and Sam Reading 11th in 4.56.6.

Also in action were four of the club’s under-13s although they will also have their own individual championships in July.

In a well-supported minithon Charlie Sharp, Fleur Hollyer, Charlotte Bullard and Gracie Roberts all gained valuable experience for the remainder of the season.

Eleven-year-old Hollyer, for example, managed 3.25m in the long jump, threw the discus an impressive 10.44m, and was timed at 23.7sec (just short of her PB) for the 150m.

DAVID CHURCHER & PHIL BAKER

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