TOM Gale delivered one of the finest performances ever seen at the Wiltshire Track & Field Championships with a superb display of high jumping.
The 18-year-old Great Britain junior international, from Trowbridge, added two centimetres to his personal best with a new championship record of 2.20m.
It cemented his position at the top of the UK U20 men’s rankings – it also puts him equal seventh in the senior ranks – and secured his selection for the GB juniors team at the Loughborough International Games on Sunday.
“That jump was more of a surprise to me than anyone,” said Gale.
“I felt terrible going in and barely had any sleep the night before.
“I just had no energy in my legs at all and it was only when I cleared 2.14m that I properly woke up.”
When fully awake, Gale showed he had plenty of zip in his legs as he soared over 2.20m to continue his remarkable progress over the past 12 months.
“It is the third time I have cleared the European U20s qualifying standard of 2.16m so hopefully that will help to cement my place in the team,” added Gale.
“It has really boosted my confidence and I am really looking forward to Loughborough now.”
While Gale grabbed the headlines, there were numerous other top performances at Tidworth on Sunday.
Westbury sprinter William Kennedy scorched to a double in the senior men’s 100m and 200m, while Sheldon School’s Jake Burkey leapt to a PB of 6.56m in the long jump.
Also in the sprints, Southwick’s Zoe Mattacks won the senior 100m and Imogen Dawe-Lane, from Devizes, took gold in the senior 100m hurdles.
On the track, Joe Collins, of Sheldon School, had a double gold performance in the U17 men’s 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles in 14.50secs and 58.41secs respectively.
There was a great battle in the U17 women’s 1,500m between Corsham’s Jade Littlechild and Caroline Brenchley, from Compton Bassett, with Littlechild edging away to win in 4min 51.50secs, with Brenchley just behind in 4:54.59.
However, Brenchley did have the satisfaction of winning the 800m.
Caitlin Wosika, of John of Gaunt School, was almost half a lap ahead of her nearest rival in the senior women’s 1,500m steeplechase in 5:06.01, while Hilperton’s John Howorth won the senior men’s race in 4:12.14.
Younger brother Rory had a busy day and won both the U17 men’s javelin and discus, recording big PBs of 38.16m and 30.77m respectively and was also runner-up in the 400m hurdles behind Collins.
In the field, there was a double triumph from Robyn Ellison, who produced PBs in both the U17s long jump and high jump events, clearing 5.02m and 1.53m respectively.