Erme Valley Harriers’ Battershill digs deep to claim British steeplechase title

ERME Valley Harriers’ Will Battershill dug deep in the home straight to secure his first British senior title on Sunday in Manchester.

Battershill held off the challenge of Olympian Zak Seddon to win the men’s 3,000m steeplechase at the UK Athletics Championships at Sportscity.

His victory came just 24 hours after City of Plymouth’s Poppy Tank had triumphed in the women’s steeplechase event.

Battershill and Seddon were the two favourites going into the race, with both having run 10 seconds faster than anyone else in the UK this year.

Seddon’s season’s best was 8:21.71, with the ever-improving Battershill just behind with 8:23.31.

However, the battle for the British title became a tactical race. Battershill made his move in the final two laps and opened up a gap. Seddon, the 2018 and 2019 champion, closed the gap on the final bend but Battershill had enough in reserve to out-sprint him down the home straight.

Battershill clocked 8:44.19, with Seddon finishing in 8:44.94 and last year’s winner Jamaine Coleman taking bronze in 8:54.40.

“I had in my mind that anything could happen in today’s race,” said Battershill afterwards.

“I knew the form of Zak and Jamaine – I wasn’t expecting to leave them behind with my move – but I’m glad it did. Everyone in this field is super dangerous, so you have to make sure your race is executed perfectly.”

Three-times British 110m hurdles champion David King (City of Plymouth) had been hoping to claim another medal in Manchester.

He had shown his form with a 13.49 second run last month in Finland.

And he eased through his heat, winning in 13.61, to qualify third fastest behind Tade Ojora and Josh Zeller. But it went wrong for King in the final as he badly hit the final hurdle. Despite falling into another lane, he did manage to finish but had to settle for sixth place in 13.74 seconds.

Fellow City of Plymouth athlete Ethan Glyde made his British Championship senior debut at just 17 years-old and he finished fifth in the high jump.

Most of the high jumpers found conditions tough and the majority were well down on their season bests, with the exception of winner Joel Clarke-Khan. Glyde leaped 2.05m, which was 10cm off his PB but it was still good enough for a top five finish. His attentions will now turn to the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago.

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