HILPERTON athlete Rory Howorth can look forward to a great 2020 if his performance at the England Combined Events Indoor Championships is anything to go by, writes Kevin Fahey.

The 17-year-old St Augustine’s Catholic College student got the new year off to a flying start with five personal bests as he finished fourth in the under 20 men’s heptathlon in Sheffield.

While Howorth narrowly missed out on a national medal he nonetheless was awarded gold in the Midland Counties Championships, incorporated into the two-day event, and will take massive encouragement from the performance.

Howorth, competing for Team Bath AC, set an indoor PB of 7.00metres in the long jump, only two centimetres below his outdoor best and then threw his second furthest put in the shot with 12.91m. Day one ended with a PB of 3.73m in the pole vault.

Day two opened with a huge PB in the high jump improving his best by 7cm, clearing 1.97m and in the final event of the weekend Howorth clocked 2mins 35.09secs for the 1000m, which was the fastest time recorded for an under 20 man.

Howorth’s total score was 5,136 points, which was an improvement of 312 points on last year and ranks him fourth in the UK and first in the South West at this early stage of 2020.

Part way through the competition, Rory’s older brothers, twins John and Robert Howorth, competed in the British Milers Club 1500m races and both clocked personal bests. John knocked four seconds off his indoor best running 3:53.42 and Robert ran his first indoor 1500m clocking 4:02.72.

Back to the combined events, and Bradford-on-Avon’s GB junior international Jenna Blundell, who is now studying at Sheffield University, opened her indoor season with third place in the under 20s pentathlon.

“I was only five points off the silver medal and three of those came down to milli-seconds in the 800m so it was all very close,” said Blundell.

“To be honest the competition just did not come together at all but it was a season opener and good to get the body moving again and to still win a medal was nice.”

Blundell, who is now working under new coach Tony Minichiello, scored a total of 3,744pts and managed just one PB, an impressive 2mins 21.76secs in the 800m while her other marks were 8.87secs in the 60m hurdles, 1.63m in the high jump, a 10.64m shot putt then a well below par 5.39m for the long jump.

“Overall, bearing in mind the new training regime it was a good weekend and now I can move forward,” added Blundell.