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Local schools show the way

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ASHFORD Athletic Club youngsters had an excellent day at the Kent Schools championships hosted by the Julie Rose Stadium on Saturday. Ashford had youngsters in several of the district teams and they showed the value of the club's coaching programme by lifting a run of medals and catching the eye of Kent's selectors.

The local athletes featured in one of the closest finishes of the day and also one of the biggest. In the junior boys Luke Hedges from the Norton Knatchbull won the 200m by the width of his vest after being given the same time of 25.7 as runner-up Daniels from St Augustines. And there was a similar result for Shepway's Jon Brisley who was given the same time of 2:12.8 as Swale's Bailey but earned the junior boys' 800m gold medal.

On the other hand Shepway's Andy Welch proved his superiority in the Intermediate 1500m by romping to a massive 16 second margin and even holding off the challenge of a guest runner by three seconds. Welch clocked 4:12.1 despite a gusting breeze into the face of the finishers in the final straight. In the junior 400m Ross Owen (Towers) had a commanding win by nearly four seconds taking gold for Ashford in 54.7.

There was a storming 200m intermediate final with all three medals going to local rinners. Gold was taken by the quickly improving David Jedrezejewski (Harvey) in 23.9 from Ashford's Gary Mickelborough (NKS) in 24.3 and Shepway's Nick Hazelwood 25.2. Nick Leavey, running for the St Augustines district snatched gold in a tremendous run in the Inter 400m with 50.3 beating the talented Victor Barzhey running as a guest by 0.1 of a second.

And Ashford's Sorrel Hunter and Amanda Jukes made it a great one-two in the junior girls' 1500m with 5:13.9 and 5:14.1 respectively. The Shepway pairing Danielle Crispin and Lauren Fawke made it a fine double taking gold and silver in the Intermediate 800m with Danielle clocking 2:25.1 and Lauren 2:27.8.

Damien Kingwell (Christ Church) continued his tremendous year winning gold in the junior shot by over a metre and half with 13.83 while newcomer Joe Turnbull (appearing for Shepway) won the intermediate high jump gold on a countback with 1.80m. Sam O'Malley (Shepway) looks like being a find for Ashford winning the junior 100m with 12.2 while Melody Georgeson was just edged out of the Inter girls 100m gold by 0.1 of a second after a run of 13.2.

Bronze medals went to Ashford's Carly Buckley (Swadelands) with 8.32m in the junior shot; Sophie Hanys (Shepway) in the ihtermediate discus with 28.01; Leeanne Colebrook-Taylor (Shepway) in the intermediate long jump with 5.04m and Shepway's Sam Senior in the Inter discus with 33m.

Hannah Claydon (Cranbrook) lifted the junior 200m bronze for Ashford with 28.5 with Becky Paine seventh and Tessa Qizilbash (Ashford) was third in the intermediate 300m in 44.1. Ashford AC's talented pole vaulter Natalie Olson (St Augustines) was in action on the track with silver in the inter 80m hurdles with 12.8 with Shepway's Liu Batchelor fifth (14.9).

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