Ex-Olympic ace can’t stop Chichester athletes in their tracks

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Chichester’s seniors travelled to Croydon for the latest match in the Southern Athletics League.

And knew they were in for some stiff competition with ex-Olympian Donna Fraser in action for the home club among a plethora of good South London sprinters as well as athletes from St Mary’s Richmond and Hastings.

Chichester emerged with 12 A string wins with in-form decathlete Charlie Roe accounting for four of them among his seven events.

After setting a new all-time best of 16.9 seconds to win the 110m hurdles, he followed this up with victories in the 400m, high jump and pole vault.

Almost as busy was Shane Mott, making his first appearance of the season with good wins in the triple jump and B string pole vault among his six events.

Mott offered good support to Tim Brown in the throws, where Brown’s second place in the hammer was the highlight in another high-standard competition.

James Baker continued his rich run of form in 2012, interrupted only by a short bout of illness in early July.

Seemingly refreshed and with a renewed confidence in his running, Baker was content to let the early leader make a break after two laps in the 3,000m before reeling him in with half a mile to go an finish well clear in just outside nine minutes.

In the steeplechase, the Chichester record holder took charge from the gun to cross the line more than half a minute clear of the field. Strengthening the middle-distance programme, there were good performances from Chris West in both 800m and 1,500m with Callum Adams in action over 1,500m and 3,000m.

Giving good balance to the team were Pete Manners in sprints and jumps while Jake Hurst, making his first appearance for the team, scored two fine second places in hurdles and triple jump.

In the women’s events, Chichester had one of the stars of the day with heptathlete Katherine Maertens in fine form on the track with a 400m/800m double before turning her hand to the field to be just squeezed into second place in the shot before returning to action to win the javelin.

With most club matches taking a break during the Olympics, Chichester must wait until September 1 before travelling to Canterbury to complete their league programme.

PHIL BAKER