HILPERTON’S Rory Howorth celebrated his first senior decathlon with an impressive performance at the England Athletics Combined Event Championships.

The 17-year-old St Augustine’s Catholic College student has made a name for himself in the junior heptathlon and pentathlon formats, but the step up into the gruelling 10-event Olympic Games challenge over two days is a big one to take.

But on the evidence of his sixth place from 22 finishers in the U20 men’s competition with a total score of 6,688 points – which incorporated five personal bests – Howorth is more than capable of rising to that challenge.

“I really enjoyed it, but I am totally drained,” said Howorth after his weekend of non-stop action in Bedford.

“I am very happy with the performance, but I definitely feel there is a bigger score to come as some of the events didn’t go as well as I wanted.

“Once I sort them out then I’ll be looking to go over 7,000 points before the end of the summer.

“But for now, it is a good benchmark.”

The undoubted highlight on the opening day of competition was a PB of 7.02m in the long jump, the first time Howorth has broken the seven metres barrier.

“I actually went over seven metres twice with 7.02m and 7.01m, then also had a foul well over seven metres,” said Howorth.

“I have spent a lot of time working on the long jump, so to finally break seven metres is huge.”

He followed that with PBs in the high jump, clearing 1.90m, and ending day one with 50.47secs for the 400m.

Day two showed that the work Howorth has been doing on his throws has paid off as he added PBs in the discus (36.11m) and javelin (44.58m), while his 1,500m time of 4mins 11.02secs was his fastest in a multi-events format.

“But I wasn’t so happy with my shot, 110m hurdles and pole vault, in which I was well down on my best of 3.70m with just 3.26m,” added Howorth.

“I think they will be my priority in training now.”

Such is the nature of the decathlon in which athletes strive for perfection in all 10 events – but rarely achieve it.

Nonetheless, for a debut, Howorth can take enormous satisfaction from his performance and will look to build on that at the English Schools’ Combined Events Championships at the end of the summer.

He said: “Overall, I have to be happy.”

Also competing in Bedford was Southwick athlete Joel Mattacks.

He sprinted to a PB of 11.97secs in the ambulant 100m, cleared 5.08m in the long jump and 59.81secs in the 400m.

Staverton athlete Jenna Blundell was forced to withdraw from the U20 women’s heptathlon competition with an adductor injury that she suffered training for the javelin the previous week.

Blundell said: “I had it strapped up, but it was still sore during the warm-up and my coach (Julie Alexander) said if I wasn’t 100 per cent then I wouldn’t perform to my best and would be disappointed.

“It was the right decision to pull out.”