YOUTH: Dorset stars in seventh heaven

Dorset Echo: ALL SMILES: Dorset Pentathletes under-11 girls' team, who won gold: Abbie White, Anya Evans, Anghared Jones, Elektra Covell and Alice Southcombe ALL SMILES: Dorset Pentathletes under-11 girls' team, who won gold: Abbie White, Anya Evans, Anghared Jones, Elektra Covell and Alice Southcombe

DORSET Pentathletes have claimed the top team prize for the seventh consecutive year at the National Biathlon Champion-ships.

The county’s athletes claimed the crown in style and continued their success in the competition, which they have won every year since 2007.

The Pentathletes came home with an excellent medal tally, comprising six team gold, three team silver, one team bronze, two individual gold, four individual silver, one individual bronze and saw an impressive 17 athletes finishing in the top 10.

This year, Dorset were convincing winners with 135pts with second-place West Midlands a distant second on 62pts, which was the club’s best performance to date.

The result this year makes Dorset Pentathletes, the most successful club in the history of the competition.

This year’s event saw one of the biggest entries in many years with more than 800 competitors in the various age groups.

The format was also changed with one year age groups rather than two year age groups; this made the team competitions a lot harder especially in the younger age categories.

This year, 64 Dorset Pentath-letes travelled north to Solihull to take part in the championships.

The athletes had to qualify through regional championships and the national ranking list with more than 7,000 athletes from around the country taking part.

This was the biggest squad from the club to qualify and take part in a national championship.

The event was held over two days, day one saw the younger age groups competing from under-10 up to under-12. These athletes had a swim of 50m and a run of 800m.

The under-11 girls took the club’s first team gold with Tabitha Samouelee, Abbie White and Anya Evans triumphant.

The under-11 boys took team silver through Sam Cobb, Josh Dreelan and Thomas Beeson.

Daisy Davies claimed the club’s first individual gold in the under-12s with the best run of the day in the 800m with a time of 2m 32sec.

Day two saw the older athletes competing and this was where the club really showed their strength in depth.

The under-12, under-13 and Masters ran 1,600m and swam 100m with all other age groups swimming 200m and running 1,600m.

The first success of the day came in the under-13 boys with George Tester taking individual gold. He was also part of the A team who claimed team gold, along with Robert Croager and Josh Frampton.

The B team, of George Case, Alex Felton and Ioan Baxter, bagged team bronze, while the under-14 girls, Kizzy Price, Elizabeth Tolley and Olivia Foice, won team silver.

The under-15 girls team of Flora Johnson, Olivia Manson and Zoe Gowers won team gold, with the latter claiming individual silver.

Leweston students Aoife McCarthy, Connie Reynolds and Amelia Bailey finished fourth in the under-16 girls’ section, but won top school team award.

In the under-16 age group section, the club dominated the boys’ event, with Harrison Yarnold taking individual gold and team-mate Bradley Sutton just 15pts behind to claim silver.

Meanwhile, Elliot Laville bag-ged team gold.

In the under-17 girls’ category, the team of Rebecca Bowles, Georgie Watson and Victoria Halford took gold with the latter claiming individual bronze.

All three girls are from Leweston School who were also the top school team in the age group.

In the under-18 girls, the team of Thomas Hardye pupils Amie Buttle, Olivia McGonigle and Jessica Ohnstad took silver.

In the last event of the day, not to be outdone by all the success of the younger age groups, the Masters men won team gold with Nick Ireland claiming individual silver, with Thomas Manson and Mick Flaherty making up the team. There was good news for Zoe Gowers, Bradley Sutton and Victoria Halford who have been invited to Hartpury for trials to move forward to the Pentathlon World Class programme, and if successful will join Harrison Yarnold and Rebecca Bowles on the programme.

Team coach Mick Flaherty said: “Once again the athletes from the local area have done a great job in their efforts at the nationals to win so much and retain top-club status.

“The time and effort of hours of training put in by the athletes each week over the last few months at their running and swimming has paid off for the biathletes on their results.

“I’d like to thank all the coaches from the various swimming and running clubs for all their support in preparing the athletes for this event.

“This year’s competition was very tough, but due to the numbers of athletes taking part from the club’s A teams down to C teams, this enabled the team to have another club win, with great success at a national championships.

“The club has finished the year on a high and now will be planning for the coming year with many events organised by the club in the local area, plus training days in the sport.”

If you’re interested in sponsoring one of the best teams in Britain or any of the athletes or events, contact Flaherty at flaher ty121@aol.com

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