Akehurst on track for GB recall

City of Portsmouth multi-eventer Adam Akehurst
City of Portsmouth multi-eventer Adam Akehurst
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Adam Akehurst set his sights on Great Britain selection after claiming victory in the Sussex & Surrey Combined Events Championships.

Competing as a guest competitor, the City of Portsmouth ace showed his undoubted class with a two-day total of 6,504 points that blew the field away in Carshalton.

That saw him see off the challenge of Chichester’s Charlie Roe, who set a new championship-best points total of 6,459 for eligible home athletes.

Akehurst’s overall score also saw him record six new season’s bests and post his highest overall points tally for two years.

His impressive performance provided him with much satisfaction – particularly after a first full season back on the track that was dogged by injury, after a period out of the sport.

However, the 23-year-old feels there’s still plenty more to come as he plots a course which will hopefully see him challenge at the top of the British decathlon rankings again.

In 2007, Akehurst, 25, competed at under-23 level for GB and was ranked ninth in the UK with a personal best total of 6,777.

He’s determined to return to that level again and believes his win in the last event of the season can act as a springboard to the very top.

‘It was pretty good to win,’ said Akehurst.

‘It was my first decathlon since May due to a few little niggles, and to finish the season on a high is very pleasing.

‘I had six season’s bests and my score was the best I’ve had in two years.

‘It could have been more as conditions were a bit poor. But I can’t ask for much more after getting back into it.

‘Next year I’ll definitely be looking to get a new PB and maybe get a GB vest once again – that’s the main target.

‘I’d be happy to get to the Commonwealth Games, but my main target is just getting back up into the ranks again – in the top sort of six or seven in the country and getting GB selection. It would be good to just be up there fighting for places.’

Akehurst admitted missing part of the season due to knee and Achilles injuries denied him the chance to edge even closer of his top target.

That cost him six to seven weeks at a crucial time of the year.

But he admitted he’s determined to make up for it – starting with a solid winter.

‘It’s a shame I couldn’t have done another decathlon but I had little niggles and the injuries played up,’ said Akehurst.

‘However, it feels good now and, hopefully, I’ll just do it all next year.

‘Winter training starts next week, so I’ll be giving it 100-per-cent commitment.

‘I’ll maybe get a bit of warm weather training in this year, too – go away and just sharpen up ahead of the season.

‘Fit and healthy and I’ll be flying.’

Providing plenty of encouragement, coach Steve Davey said he was expecting big things from his charge over the winter and years ahead.

He even predicted future Olympic Games selection should be at the forefront of Akehurst’s mind.

‘I’m looking for him to score at least 7,100 next season,’ said Davey.

‘We’re not too sure about the Commonwealths qualification mark but know they are a long shot because of the time frame, so Rio is the more realistic target.

‘He’ll be 28 by then and in his prime.’