WOODSIDE STADIUM once again played host to the Herts Schools Athletics Championships on Saturday, June 15, with medals, and, more importantly, a chance to qualify for the National Schools Championships, up for grabs.

More than 1,500 youngsters, from all over the county were in action on a blisteringly hot day although the conditions did not seem to faze the athletes with a number of excellent performances typifying the general standard of athletics on the day.

Home club Watford Harriers produced two winners, Paul Yeomans in the Intermediate Boys pole vault and Charlotte Higginbotham in the Junior Girls 75m hurdles but had luck been on their side, Harriers could have been the proud possessor of at least a few more gold medals.

Sixteen-year-old Chris Yeomans, of Parmiter's School, was a prime example; After finding out his name had been omitted from the Intermediate Boys' Javelin because of an administrative error, the steeplechase an event he could have expected to challenge for was then cancelled.

Similarly, his twin brother Paul was unable to compete in the Intermediate Boys 800m because it clashed with the pole vault.

However, Paul, also of Parmiters School did claim gold in the pole vault with a jump of 3.05m. Paul has since been boosted by the news that alongside fellow Harrier's Richard Hansard and Darren Allen, he has been hand-picked to attend Sports Talent Camp on Sunday.

Fourteen-year-old Charlotte Higginbotham was also a big winner after putting eight months of injury problems behind her to take gold in the Junior Girls 75m hurdles.

The Parmiters' School pupil has only been back in full training for two months but won her heat comfortably before taking the final in a time of 12.2, equalling the required entry time for the National School Championships in Nottingham in July. The result was just reward for the athlete who has come through the minor ranks at the Harriers, as at one point her injury looked as if it may prevent her from continuing in athletics at all.

Elsewhere, St Clement Danes' Laura Warner continues to impress as an 800m athlete up to two months ago Laura was a 1,500m specialist by clinching the Junior Girls 800m gold and a place in the Hertfordshire squad at the National Championships.

After taking the heat in a steady 2.30, Laura clocked 2.22 in the final to ease home, and, having already recorded the national standard time of 2.17 earlier in the season, made it a double celebration by taking the gold.

Angela Barrett of Watford Grammar School for Girls Watford's most successful young athlete continued her domination of the Intermediate Girls triple jump after taking gold with a jump of 11.29m, 80cm further than her nearest opponent. Angela is a certainty for the National Championships.

Elsewhere, St Michaels Richard Hansard took bronze in the Intermediate Boys 200m with 24.00 and repeated the feat with third place in the 100m with 14.1

Fellow Harrier Joe Tenny, of Queens School, continued the amazing improvement he has made in the last year as well as his friendly rivalry with team-mate Richard by taking silver in the Intermediate Boys 200m with 13.9 but both Joe and Richard achieved National Standard times and will hope to be picked for the National Championships.

June 21, 2002 11:30