City of Portsmouth men’s team have made a huge leap forward after sealing promotion to the British Athletics League.
The squad produced some excellent displays at the crunch promotion meeting in Derby last weekend.
City took second spot behind Chelmsford, as eight clubs battled for two places in the national inter-club competition.
It will be the first time the Portsmouth outfit have ever had a men’s team in the British Athletics League.
City chairman Phil Budd is excited by the prospect.
He believes the club now has a big opportunity to push forward and attract some talented new athletes to boost their ranks.
‘The match was really exciting,’ said Budd.
‘It all came down to the last two relays.
‘That made it all the sweeter for us when we finished second.
‘This will be the first time we have ever been in this league.
‘The kudos is immense. Not many clubs get to compete in the British Athletics League.
‘It’s great for recruitment as well, because there will be athletes who are looking to compete at a higher level.’
The eight teams for the final match were selected based on performances throughout the season.
And it made for a dramatic contest as the battle was on to secure promotion.
From the start it was clear the competition was going to be fierce at the top end of the standings.
Very few points separated the first four teams as Chelmsford, City, Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets and Brighton moved away from the rest.
City gained important wins in the shot and javelin, as Adam Akehurst (javelin A 59.20 and shot A 12.51), Mike Muckelt (javelin B, 53.29) and Steve Davey (shot B 11.28) all played their part
In the hammer, Yasha Bobash (28.54) threw one-handed as he was suffering with a broken hand.
Amazingly, he still picked up a third place for the team, while Ben Placidi – (two thirds and a fourth place) ran the 800m (2min 01.75sec, the 3000m steeple chase (11.09.88) and the 1500m (4.27.84) all within two hours.
The last individual track event saw Alex Teuten power to a win in the 5000m (14.45.73).
This was followed by a wonderful last leg in the 4x400m relay as Carlos Chapasuka recorded a 48.2sec split.
Multi-eventers Akehurst and Davey both played key roles as they showed great dedication and versatility.
Budd praised the efforts of team manager Paul Farres who helped secure the coveted promotion the club have long been striving for.
‘The City men’s team have threatened to earn a place in the national league for several years now,’ said Budd.
‘But the combination of seasoned performers and exciting new talent, plus the good work of team manager Paul Farres, has eventually enabled that potential to be realised.’