8:00am Friday 13th July 2012
By John Boyman
IT HAS been an excellent couple of weeks for multi-talented Basingstoke athlete Kierra Barker, who claimed gold medals at two high profile meetings.
The 14-year-old Bishop Challoner School pupil recorded a comprehensive victory in the under-15 pentathlon at the Southern Regional Schools Multi-Events Championships in Watford.
She then went on to win gold in the under-15 high jump at the English Schools Aviva English Schools’ Track and Field Championships at Gateshead International Stadium, equalling her personal best leap of 1.72metres.
Barker said: “I always look forward to the English Schools’ and it is the one that everyone wants to win so I am really pleased I have done it.
“I was quite surprised. Even though my season has been going quite well I didn’t expect to win at all but I managed to equal my PB which was really pleasing.
“Last year I came third and over the year I have become a lot stronger after a few knockbacks I have had along the way. It makes you more determined to do better.
“It’s great fun to be part of a team and one day I hope to be part of the Aviva GB & NI Team as a professional athlete.”
Barker was also a member of the bronze medal winning Hampshire Schools 4x100m relay team, alongside training partner and fellow Basingstoke and Mid Hants athlete Lucy Bomphrey.
Bomphrey reached the final of the under-15 100m, finishing seventh after setting a new personal best time of 12.51sec in the heats.
Other Basingstoke medal winners at the event were Myles and Owen Richardson. Owen helped Hampshire to a silver medal in the under-15 4x100m, while Myles was part of Hampshire’s under-17 4x100m squad, winning a bronze medal.
Evie Wilcox recorded a personal best distance of 30.94m to finish fourth in the under-15 discus, while Libby Bundock came sixth in the under-15 javelin.
A week earlier, Barker qualified for the English Schools’ Combined Events Championships, which will take place in September, by romping to victory in the south east qualifier.
Barker recorded a personal best points total of 3,532pts, the third best score ever recorded by a British girl at under-15 level, to win the pentathlon by a large margin and consolidate her position at the top of the rankings. She recorded personal bests in four of the five disciplines, the 75m hurdles, long jump, shot and 800m.
Stuart Parker also won a medal, setting four lifetime bests on the way to a personal best score of 4,284pts and a silver medal in the under-17 octathlon.
JJ Crookes came just outside the medals despite recording four personal bests out of five and a lifetime best score of 2,423pts in the under-15 boys pentathlon, finishing fourth.
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