Having won the South East of England regional A final, the Christ’s Hospital Intermediate Boys Athletics team progressed to the National final at Gateshead International stadium.
In qualifying for the final the team achieved 542 points (the highest ever by a CH team).
This points total placed them fourth nationally, the squad and team coaches were hoping the boys could perform to their full potential on the day.
The Field events took place in the morning and there were a number of very strong performances, with the following boys achieving competition personal bests:
Moses Gbonda – High jump (1.79m – 26 points)
Abdul Ahmed – Discus (37.50m – 27 points)
James Kennedy – Hammer (50.18m – 30 points)
Mordecai Oladimeji – Triple jump (12.64m – 25 points)
There were also fine performances from Ola Siwoku – Discus (33.24m - 24points) and Emmanual Onyango – Hammer (42.03 – 25 points), both competing a year young. However, the performance of the morning must go to Henry Gregson; his first throw was a no throw, however he remained calm and improved with every throw and then with his final throw he broke the 33m target he had set himself!
Director of Sport at CH, Dave Messenger said: ‘Thanks to a number of excellent performances in the field events CH were placed third at the halfway stage” he added: “However, the boys still knew they had it all to do in the track events if they were to achieve their aim of a podium finish.”
Sprints Coach Dayle Kirby worked hard in the afternoon to ensure the track athletes were prepared for their events.
For many boys this was to be the biggest race of their athletics life to date. Alex Walker led the way with an impressive win in his 100m heat with a time of 11.7s to gain 26 points for the team, Andre Harrison-Fisher had a tough heat but did well to record a time of 24.3s (23 points), Hareef Asunramu ran a time of 39.7s in the new 300m, and Moses Gbonda won his heat in the Hurdles with a time of 11.8s (26 points). Dayle Kirby said: “I am very proud of the boys, who recorded some excellent times on the track, particularly over the shorter distances.”
As the teams assembled for the presentations, a very nervous CH team waited with baited breath as the results were read out in reverse order CH had done it!
With 525 points they had managed to hold onto third place. Dayle Kirby added: “The wonderful nature of the Track and Field Cup is that it’s a team event, so even though we struggled over the longer distances, the brave performances of those distance athletes were vital in securing our top-three finish.”
This is a tremendous result for CH athletics and really does put Christ’s Hospital up there with the top athletics schools in the country. Claire Page, Head of PE said: “The boys where excellent representatives of Christ’s Hospital and worked hard to come third. They were focused in all that they did and produced some excellent results.
“It was a great weekend, and I can’t wait to see if they can repeat their success next year. Director of Sport, David Messenger concluded: “The result for the intermediate boys is testimony to not only the hard work of the pupils but also of the coaching staff, led by Richard Baker and rotational throwing coach Arthur Mayhew.”