A PACKED Hampshire Athletics Track & Field Championships returns to Portsmouth this weekend.
And the Mountbatten Centre is set to host an exciting middle-distance duel among a host of intriguing battles.
I’d say we are one of the best in the country for numbersMike Williams
Entries have been maintained at an impressive level with 700 athletes involved, as the championships maintains its place as one of the most popular in the country.
The simple fact it takes place across two days underlines its continuing success, while other counties are forced to amalgamate their events.
Championship secretary, Mike Williams, who shares the position with Christine Weeks and Richard Dean, is proud of the competition’s strong standing.
Williams said: ‘Everything is in place and we are good to go.
‘We have a good number of entries which are on a par with last year.
‘It’s a good turnout. I’d say we are one of the best in the country for numbers.
‘A lot of the other counties are really struggling to keep their events going.
‘A lot of them are combined because the numbers are so few.
‘We’re certainly one of the most successful.
‘There are a lot of officials who help us to ensure the championships hold that position.
‘We’re looking forward to seeing some strong performances.’
An intriguing match-up is in the offing in the under-15 boys’ 1,500m and 3,000m, as City of Portsmouth’s UK number one Lachlan Wellington and the exciting Jacob O’Hara meet.
They will be challenged by Southampton’s Zak Mohamed, with the trio finely matched and flying high in the national rankings.
That could see an assault on the 4min 16.2sec championships record which has stood for 16 years.
Josie Czura will once again be one to look out for at under-15 level, as she goes in the 1,500m and 3,000m.
England international Alex Teuten will be looking for his class to come to the fore, after finishing 5th in the 3,000m steeplechase at British Universities and Colleges Sport Championships earlier this month.
Havant AC will send Matt Gordon (senior), Thomas Miller (under-17) and Bryony Mitchinson (under-13) with high hopes of impressing
A motivation for winners at under-20 level will be free tickets to the British Championships in July
City of Portsmouth coach, Vince Stamp believes his club will be sending some exciting talents into action to challenge for honours.
Stamp said: ‘We’ve had some fantastic results recently.
‘I can see several events that are going to be very tasty.
‘The under-15’s 1,500m and 3,000m will be a ding-dong.
‘Both Jacob and Lachlan are right up their in the national rankings, as is Zak.
‘Josie is doing the 800m and 1,500m double.
‘Then there are throwers in the field to look out for.’
The championships take place tomorrow from 10am and Sunday at 9.30am at the Mountbatten Centre.