Athletics

ATHLETICS: Battershill opens track season with victory at BUCS Championships

ERME Valley Harriers’ international Will Battershill opened his outdoor track season by cruising to victory in the steeplechase event at the BUCS Championships in Chelmsford.

It was Battershill’s second BUCS title of the year, having triumphed in the cross country championships in February.

Having run 8:32.92 at the end of last season, which was inside the England qualifying time for this summer’s Commonwealth Games, Battershill went into the BUCS 3,000m steeplechase event knowing he was more than 30 seconds quicker than anyone else in the field.

The University of Birmingham Masters student eased through the heats, just making sure he was inside the top four automatic qualifiers, and in the final he ran the first few laps with the rest of the field before simply pulling away and comfortably winning in 8:56.39.

Battershill, who represented Great Britain at the European Cross Country Championships in December, had been in Pyrenees last month doing altitude training and had tweaked his back ahead of the BUCS Championships.

In the same steeplechase final in Chelmsford, University of Plymouth athlete Zechariah Cohen finished eighth in a PB time of 9:32.99.

Meanwhile, City of Plymouth’s international hurdler David King has also started his outdoor season.

The World Indoor Championship finalist and Olympian has competed in two outdoor events in America.

He opened his 110m hurdles campaign with a 13.63 second run to win the Mesa Invitational in Arizona.

King then competed at the World Athletics Continental Silver Tour Drake Relays meeting where a strong -2.5 head-wind put paid to any fast times.

The Plymouth athlete finished fifth in a strong field in a time of 13.89 seconds. The conditions were so difficult that only one competitor in a high-class international field – Jamaica’s Olympic champion Hansle Parchment – went under 13.50 seconds. He won in 13.47 seconds, which was half-a-second off his personal best.

King will compete at the Müller Birmingham Diamond League meeting in Birmingham later this month.

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