Baker’s decathlon heroics

JPCT-03-08-11 Athlete Matt Baker. Stirling way, Horsham. Won the South of England under-20s Decathlon at the weekend. -photo by steve cobb

JPCT-03-08-11 Athlete Matt Baker. Stirling way, Horsham. Won the South of England under-20s Decathlon at the weekend. -photo by steve cobb

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HORSHAM Blue Stars Harrier Matt Baker achieved a personal best of 6,145 points in the under 20 decathlon to take the title at the South of England Championships last weekend.

Baker, 19, pipped Chichester’s Jamie Moore to the post and aims to break into the 6,300 point mark in the near future.

He said: “Next year I will move up into the seniors, so the hurdles will get higher and the shots will get heavier, but I’d be happy if I can get to 6,300.”

Baker was one of four Sussex athletes to win titles at the championships and emphasised the county’s collective spirit as being a large factor in their success.

“There’s quite a good atmosphere and a lot of people are doing combined events in Sussex, which means you meet more competitors who can support you at the all the different events,” he remarked.

The athlete’s consistency was also key to his record win, and getting off to a good start in the 400 metres set him up well for the rest of the weekend.

It signifies a quick rise for Baker, who in the last two years has made his way up from focusing on the long and triple jump before moving up to the octathlon and then the decathlon.

Baker did most of his training last winter at Bath University, where he overcame his difficulties in the event; notably the pole vault and hurdles.

He stated: “At Bath, I practised the short run up and technical work to get everything right in the air, but I generally tried to do as little as possible the week beforehand as it was too late to change things.”

Collectively, Baker’s club, the Blue Stars have made steady progress at youth and senior level, with coaching secretary Mick Cole being a big influence on the decathlete.

He stated: “I’ve been at the Blue stars for about five years now and Mick Cole has really helped me, especially in the pole vault.”

Speaking about his plans for the future, Baker remained uncertain and speculated: “I am going to see if I can be entered into the Home Countries International in Stoke.

“If not, then I will be entering the Sussex Combined Events Championship in September.”