ADAM BOWDEN enhanced his reputation with two outstanding performances in the Commonwealth Games Trials at the magnificent new City of Manchester Stadium last weekend (June 15/16).

The 19-year-old international, ranked only 14th of the 23 elite entries, finished a superb third in Saturday's heat of the 3,000 metres steeplechase to gain automatic qualification for Sunday's final.

Needing to set a new personal best to progress, the Harrow Athletics Club star rose to the challenge by dipping under nine minutes for the first time ever with a time of 8.59.26.

Sunday's final was one of the toughest challenges of Bowden's career who, having entered the trials without a steeplechase race under his belt, was forced to race twice in consecutive days.

Despite carrying a calf injury from the heats, Bowden responded by smashing his personal best with a sensational time of 8.56.05 a massive eight seconds better than his pre-Trials mark to finish in ninth spot in the final that was screened live on BBC television.

Qualifying for the Games was always going to be tough ask for the north Watford-based athlete but the disappointment was softened with the news that his career-best performances in the trials have put him in a strong position for the two Under-23 internationals against Germany next month and France and Spain in August.

Bowden's success, however, was achieved at a cost as the calf injury is likely to keep him out of training in the build up to the AAA Under-23 Championships at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, former Bushey Meads School star Luke Rosenberg also took ninth spot in the Manchester Stadium, throwing the discus some 48.13 metres.

He missed on eighth spot, and three extra throws, by just 34 centimetres.

Scott Rider placed an excellent fourth in the shot with 17.36 metres.

June 21, 2002 11:30