Engand calling for Chen after nationals

City of Portsmouth AC's Jess Chen

City of Portsmouth AC's Jess Chen

Ian Jones and Gissele Leishman during the Havant parkrun with Hawaii theme. Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant parkrun Hawaii event is scorching success

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Jess Chen has received her latest England call-up after storming to success at the National Cross Country Championships.

The City of Portsmouth ace delivered a stunning performance to finish fourth in the under-20 race at Parliament Hill in London.

Chen underlined her hurtling progress and potential for the future with her display against powerful opposition.

The 18-year-old clocked a time of 22min 03sec over 6k to defeat international-class opposition across some tough terrain.

That has now seen the exciting talent earn selection for a home nations international in Glasgow on Saturday, March 17.

Chen’s coach, Gerry North, lauded her progress and commitment, which is now paying off with the Oxford University student’s speedy progress.

He said: ‘Jess had a stormer. It was a blinding run, absolutely fantastic.

‘Before the race, we thought finishing in the first 10 would be brilliant but the top 20 would still be good.

‘After the first lap I could see she was fifth but it was a long lap so I thought we would see what happened. But with half a mile left, she was fourth and managed to hold on to it.

‘To finish fourth in the nationals shows how quickly she is improving.

‘She ran in Brussels a few months ago but has shown so much improvement even since then.

‘Jess walloped a lot of the England team who beat her that day.

‘Now she has finished fourth, she has been selected for England again.

‘I can’t remember the last time a Portsmouth athlete finished so high up the field in this race.

‘There’s no doubt that she is right up there in the selectors’ eyes now. She has a bright future, without a doubt.

‘To finish fourth would have been beyond her wildest dreams. It really was an outstanding performance.’

With Chen receiving her latest international selection, North is excited about what lies ahead for her.

He has no doubt a Great Britain call-up could be in the offing for Chen further down the line.

North said: ‘Jess has already picked up her England vest.

‘She has to be aiming for her Great Britain vest next – and, if she continues to work and progress as she is, I’ve no doubt she’ll get it.

Chen wasn’t the only City talent to impress in the capital on the national stage.

Harry Carter also performed superbly to finish 19th in the under-20 men’s category.

Carter clocked a time of 33.12 over 10k to finish in that impressive position in a field of 196 entries.

At under-15 level, the reigning county champions impressed in the team category as they finished 12th.

Matt Smith (62nd, 16.22), Will Downham (81st, 16.37), Doug Tandy (165th, 17.20) and Ethan Bevis (182nd, 17.30) made up the team, with Ben Roe (315th, 19.38) also in action.

Lauren McCarthy (71st, 15.41) and Rosie Gouldstone (99th, 16.08) ran the girls’ race in fine fashion.

At under-13 level, Tom Verney finished an excellent 37th (11.45) over 3k, with Thomas Coleman (83rd,12.49), Toby Roe (227th, 13.06), Gregory Coleman (274th, 13.36), Connor Stock (372nd, 17.16), Fenella Johnson (221st, 14.18) Grace Kelly (239th, 14.25) and Laura Mead (297th, 15.25) also in action.

At under-17 level, Rory Bevis was 108th in 21.52, with Jordan Warren 196th. James Teuten finished 345th at senior level (43.34).

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