Kai wins English Schools’ 1,500m gold in Gateshead

Kai Atkins meets Steve Cram after his English Schools' Championships win (s).
Kai Atkins meets Steve Cram after his English Schools' Championships win (s).
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Pendle AC athlete Kai Atkins has been crowned junior boys’ 1,500m champion at the English Schools’ Championships in Gateshead.

Atkins was one of a record six Pendle athletes in action at the championships, a superb achievement given the tough criteria to earn a place in the Lancashire squad.

Atkins had thrown down the gauntlet on the Friday in his heat, gaining the fastest time of the year in winning in a time of 4mins 12 secs.

This put added pressure on his shoulders, making him the favourite to win the title.

In the final, the first 500m was slow, so Atkins decided to take the lead and make the long run for home.

He held off all comers and crossed the finishing line in 4mins 10secs.

Atkins also leads the UK rankings as a result of his efforts, and had a special memento of his win – a photograph with Gateshead-born UK athletics legend Steve Cram, Olympic silver medalist, World champion, twice European champion and three-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist.

Pendle had five other athletes competing.

On day one, Tiarnan Crorken was in action in the intermediate boys’ 1,500m, and Emerson James, representing West Yorkshire, was in the 800m. Neither reached the final, but both were not quite race fit.

Joe Lonsdale ran in the inter boys’ 200m and got through his heat, only to miss out in the semi-finals by a tenth of a second, but Joe will get another chance next year.

On day two Leah Hillman came sixth in the javelin, a great performance as she is also bottom of the age group.

Matthew Barnes, in the 3,000m inter boys, finished down the field of 23. a second outside his personal best.