Chichester's super six force their way into national athletics charts
At the end of a golden year for British athletics, no fewer than six local athletes have made their way into the UK top 20 in their respective categories - with four of them achieving finding themselves in the top 10.
Ironically the top billing overall was achieved right at the end of the year with the stunning run of Chichester’s Australian-based star Linda Spencer in their national 10,000m championships with a time of 33min 08sec.
That put her in seventh place overall with the top two places occupied by Olympians Jo Pavey and Holly Bleasedale.
Spencer also had the distinction of making the top 20 on the road thanks to a performance set much closer to home in the Bognor 10k in May - a 33.39 clocking.
Also making the top ten in the senior ranks in ninth place was discus thrower Simon Cooke, who showed the rewards of perseverance with a lifetime best throw of 58.84m with the 2kg implement. His national placing is all the more creditable as the event is undergoing a resurgence with three throwers in the UK over 65 metres for the first time in decades.
All-time second on the Sussex rankings, Cooke has an ambition of breaking into the 60m club and this looks to be within reach.
Another ninth-placed athlete was Izzie Brown in the under-20 high jump with a best of 1.73m indoors and
This ranked her 23rd overall in the UK with the top performance from Jess Ennis at 1.91 and fellow Olympian Katrina Johnson-Thompson equal third at 1.89 alongside Worthing’s Emma Perkins.
Not only a high jumper, Brown is developing into a fine multi-eventer and finds herself 17th in the under-20 heptathlon list with 4,021 points and 37th in the overall rankings, with Ennis and Johnson-Thompson again at the head of affairs.
Jamie Moore has just missed out on a top 20 place in his number-one event, the pole vault, but such has been his remarkable rise in the decathlon that he finds himself ninth in the under-20s with a fine total of 5,663 points.
Moore is already having to adjust to the senior hurdles and throwing weights which has been the challenge for fellow decathlete Charlie Roe, who has moved this year into the under-23 and senior ranks.
A former high and long jumper with good middle-distance ability, Roe has worked hard on the other events, especially the throws, to record 6181 points - good enough for 13th in the under 23s and 28th overall in the UK.
Another of the club’s strong crop of under-20s is Ollie Smith, whose 400m running has improved year on year, culminating in an excellent 48.56 personal best, which moves him up to 16th in the under-20s and less than two seconds from breaking into the senior elite in the event.
Smith’s combination of strength and speed can be seen in an equal improvement in the 200m where he nearly broke into the rankings for that event as well to give him confidence for the season to come.
With none of the six athletes feeling they have yet reached their peak, 2013 promises to be an equally exciting season for them and an inspiration for other up-and-coming local athletes.