National indoor success for City of Portsmouth

Serena Vincent on top of the podium in Sheffield
Serena Vincent on top of the podium in Sheffield
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Serena Vincent produced a brilliant opening throw to secure the England Athletics Championships under-15 shot put title in Sheffield.

Going into the competition, the City of Portsmouth athlete was ranked number one in the United Kingdom and had won the southern title.

Gaia Osborne, right, finished in third place

Gaia Osborne, right, finished in third place

The pressure was on her as the favourite, but Vincent kept her cool and showed no nerves from the start.

She launched her first throw out to an impressive 12.57m and that proved enough to see off her rivals, despite them battling hard in later rounds.

City coach Paul Farres said: ‘It is never easy being favourite for an event but Serena took that in her stride and her very first throw took her out of sight of the opposition.

‘Although the rest of the field closed in on this distance late in the competition, Serena’s distance was not passed.’

Vincent’s performance sees her name added to an esteemed list of Great British athletes who have won gold medals at the national indoor age-group championships.

Dwain Chambers, Mark Lewis-Francis, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Dina Asher-Smith have all done it and gone on to achieve great success.

And Vincent was not the only City of Portsmouth athlete to earn a spot on the podium in the shot.

Gaia Osborne finished third in the under-17 age group with a new personal best distance of 13.53m.

A total of 23 entrants battled it out and Osborne showed her quality with a strong performance.

City also had a number of good performances on the track.

Charlie Craddock did well in his first run out after injury and clocked 7.34 in his 60m heat in the under-20 age group.

In the under-17 60m sprint, Luke Younghusband, with a time of 7.64, and Jo Martin, with a new best of 7.52, ran very well in their first competition at this level.

Havant’s Aaron Howard, who also trains with the sprint group coached by Leroy Elliott, ran in the under-20 event and produced a season’s best of 7.49.

In the under-16 60m hurdles, City of Portsmouth’s Hollie Thurgood finished ninth out of more than 40 girls.

Her heat saw her finish second in a time of 9.45.

In the semi-finals she clocked 9.41 and missed out of a place in the national final as a fastest loser by the narrowest of margins (0.03 secs).

It meant she finished ninth in her first national event – a very strong debut.

Meanwhile, in the pole vault, southern area indoor champion Tom Farres vaulted 4.60m and had the narrowest of failures at 4.80m.

It was a very strong competition with some big talents in action, and Farres’ position of equal seventh was another excellent performance.