Czura and Ainsworth make it a South of England double for Portsmouth

Golden girls Nicole Ainsworth and Josie Czura celebrated victory in the South of England Cross-Country Championships at Parliament Hill.

Thursday, 4th February 2016, 8:00 am
Josie Czura, centre, celebrates winning the gold medal

The talented duo made it a great day for City of Portsmouth as they lifted the under-13 and under-15 titles.

Top athletes from across the south battled it out in the mud in London.

For City coach Vince Stamp it was the first time two members of his training group have won southern cross-country titles on the same day.

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Nicole Ainsworth

It was almost a sensational hat-trick for the club as well but England international Lachlan Wellington was just edged into second by his rival Zak Mahamed, who is the United Kingdom number one.

Stamp said: ‘At a major championships like this it is brilliant to have two winners and it was nearly three.

‘When Nicole and Josie reached the finish there was nobody in sight behind them.

‘It really was a top day for Portsmouth to have the under-13 and the under-15 champion.’

Nicole Ainsworth

Czura produced a runaway victory of the highest quality.

She finished the tough 4k course in a time of 16min 32sec – exactly one minute clear of her nearest rival.

Stamp said: ‘Everyone will be talking about this performance.

‘Josie just glided through the mud and took the field apart.

‘To win a big championship like this one by a margin of a minute over a distance as short as 4k is something special. It was phenomenal.’

Unfortunately, an injury ruled Olivia Wiseman out of the race and the under-15 girls finished fourth in the team standings.

Anya Pigden was City’s second athlete to finish, taking 40th place with a time of 19.14.

Bo Sansom finished 48th, in 19.19, and Mia Billins completed the scoring team after finishing 107th in 20.25.

Ainsworth went up against her club-mate Saffron Moore in the under-13 girls’ race, with both looking to get among the medals.

Moore had won their battle in the county championships but this time it was Ainsworth’s turn to get gold.

She got away and never looked back to take the title with a time of 12.36 for the 3k course – six seconds clear of the both the silver and bronze medallists.

Moore finished fourth in a time of 12.58.

City were fifth team with Charlotte Bullard, who was recovering from flu, finishing 61st in 14.13 and bottom year Eloise O’Neill 77th in 14.19.

In the under-17 race over 5k, City’s Elizabeth Hedley finished 31st in 22.22 and Elizabeth Rose 68th in 24.04.

Fareham’s Maisie Grice, who runs for Aldershot, Farnham & District, finished 29th in 22.20.

Her sister, Evie, was 42nd in the under-20 race with a time of 26.52, while City of Portsmouth’s Kayleigh Johns finished 65th, completing the 6k course in 29.18.