ATHLETICS: Battershill claims victory at BUCS Cross Country Championships

ERME Valley Harriers’ Will Battershill continued his good form by claiming victory in the BUCS Cross Country Championships at Greenford on Saturday.

The University of Birmingham post-graduate student beat a strong field in the men’s long course race by 11 seconds.

In muddy conditions, Battershill saw off the challenge of fellow international athletes Zakariya Mahamed, Matthew Stonier and Will Barnicoat to the title.

Saturday’s victory capped a good few months for the Devonian steeplechase specialist, who had previously enjoyed success in America while at Harvard University.

In August, he won the 3,000m steeplechase event at the Manchester International on his senior England debut and ran the Commonwealth Games qualifying time in the process. Then in November, he booked his spot in the Great Britain senior men’s team for the European Cross Country Championships and represented his country in Ireland in December, while last month he impressed for England at the World Cross Country Tour Gold cross country event in Elgoibar, Spain.

Tavistock Run Project’s Oliver Smart, who is also at the University of Birmingham, also represented England at the Elgoibar international event and he took fourth place in the BUCS short course (8k) race on Saturday at Greenford.

Smart, who is still an under-20 athlete and in his first year at university, finished behind his Birmingham team-mate Ethan O’Shea, St Mary’s Luke Prior and another Birmingham athlete Tom Keen.

Meanwhile, City of Plymouth’s international hurdler David King continued his consistent early season indoor form by running 7.66 seconds for the second time within a week in the 60m hurdles on Friday evening in Berlin.

King matched his season’s best in the heats of the World Athletics Indoor Silver Tour ISTAF meeting in Germany. However, his hopes of a podium finish in the final disappeared when he was disqualified by the starter for a false start.

The Plymouth athlete, who has run under 7.70 four times in the last month, is now set to move on to Metz in France before returning to the UK for the Birmingham Muller Grand Prix event and then the British Championships.

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