South of England Under-20 champion Pocock set for national test in Bedford

Harrison Pocock, wearing number 13. Picture: Mick Young (150643-29)
Harrison Pocock, wearing number 13. Picture: Mick Young (150643-29)
Have your say

Harrison Pocock crushed a quality field as he took victory in the South of England Under-20 Championships 400m final on Saturday.

The City of Portsmouth talent smashed his personal best to record a time of 48.59 in the final at Lee Valley.

He was coming up the final straight in fifth place and powered through the straight. The way he did it was just fantastic.

Paul Farres

He paced his effort superbly and powered through from fifth place to first with a storming performance in the last 100m.

As his rivals ran out of gas, the 18-year-old ace, coached by Leroy Elliott, carried his effort to the line and finished comfortably clear of the rest.

Andover’s Scott Barker was second with a time of 48.85 and Basingstoke’s Myles Richardson was third (49.01).

Now Pocock will turn his attentions to the England Under-20 Championships & European Trials in Bedford tomorrow.

There he will be mixing it with some of the best young athletes the country has to offer.

The heats start at 2.35pm, before the semi-finals take place at 5.05pm and the final is on Sunday at 4.35pm.

City coach Paul Farres watched on as Pocock blitzed the field last weekend to become southern champion.

Now the competition will go up another level with several athletes lining up who have already clocked sub 48 second times.

Farres is looking forward to seeing what Pocock can do in such classy company.

He said: ‘This is big-time competition now.

‘Some of the athletes there will be looking to qualify for the Europeans and the World Youth Games.

‘Harrison performed exceptionally well at Lee Valley.

‘He was coming up the final straight in fifth place and powered through the straight. The way he did it was just fantastic.

‘The 400m is famed for the old lactic kicking in but he just kept powering away.’

Farres believes Pocock’s hard work during the winter is really paying off.

He added: ‘His progress has been amazing. Leroy has been looking after him and he has been working hard over the winter.

‘Last year he went under 50 seconds outdoors for the first time.

‘Then he went under 50 seconds indoors for the first time this year.

‘Now he’s broken 49 seconds outdoors and if he starts to break 48 then that is serious stuff.’

Pole vaulter Tom Farres, son of City coach Paul, will also compete in Bedford.

The 18-year-old finished fourth in the South of England Senior pole vault competition on Sunday with a height of 4.20m.

He entered the senior event because the under-20 pole vault clashed with the Hampshire Schools Track & Field Championships on the Saturday.

The plan paid off as Farres finished first at the Mountbatten Centre, also with 4.20m, to book his ticket to the English Schools Championships.

Havant’s Leslie Parkes will compete in the hammer at the England Under-20 Championships after he finished fourth in a very high standard South of England Under-20 event with a distance of 54m.

City of Portsmouth athletes shine in the Hampshire Schools Championships - report here

City shining in the British Athletics League - report here