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First U20 title for Stratford AC's Lewis Byng

LEWIS Byng won his first title as an under-20 at the England Athletics Indoor Championships held at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport.

Byng was hot favourite in the U20 shot put and lived up to that billing with another gold medal winning performance, but he didn’t have it all his own way.

With Byng not producing the big 18m throw he hoped for, Daniel-James Tomas from Eastbourne AC kept the pressure on throughout the competition, but with a best of 17.79m in the first round Byng hung on to deservedly win his first championship as an under-20.

Freddie Clemons only returned from a school skiing trip 36 hours before lining up for his heat in the U15 60m hurdles, winning in 8.71s to reach the final.

With his main rival Jacob Blanc from Havering AC lining up alongside him in the final, Clemons blasted out of the blocks and never looked like losing from gun to tape, winning the gold medal in a new personal best of 8.52s and leapt back to the top of the UK rankings.

Clemons had earlier competed in the long jump, reaching the final where he finished eighth with 5.36m.

U20 Jack Sumners has an amazing record over the last few years winning medals in championships and his hurdles race was set up to be the big finale of the championships, with most of the leading UK ranked contenders in the field.

In his heat Sumners was a comfortable second in 8.02s and in the most nip and tuck race of the whole championships, the final lived up to its top billing.

In a thrilling race a tidal wave of athletes swamped the finish line, with Sumners finishing in the bronze medal position in a new PB time of 7.92s.

Cole Williams looked odds-on for a medal in the U17 hurdles, but he had a day when not much seemed to go his way.

Throughout the championships the electronic starting gun caused one problem after the other and being farthest away from the speaker in his heat Williams didn’t hear the gun and failed to start, but almost from a standing start he showed his class and blasted his way down the track and still managed to catch the field to qualify for the semi-final.

The semi-final went to plan, qualifying for the final in a time of 8.24s and right from the start in the final Williams was looking good to be in the mix for the medals until he battered the third barrier and his race was over.

U17 Harry Sugden is a relative newcomer to hurdling and he too clattered a hurdle in his heat, but even with nearly coming to a standstill he still managed to finish in a time of 9.51s.

Maddie Clark is one of Stratford AC’s combined eventers and she competed in an individual event at a major championships for the first time in the U17 hurdles and she finished eighth in her heat in a new PB of 9.69s. U17 Nick Butler was also a debutant and in the 60m he raised his game to finish sixth in his heat with a new PB of 7.49s.

Elsewhere, Millie Leighton was another making her debut as an U17 and in the triple jump she finished in 13th place with a best jump of 10.52m.

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