CHIPPENHAM sprint hurdler Jake Cover opened his season with a superb performance to fire a warning to his rivals across the country.

The 17-year-old smashed his personal best by 0.33secs as he clocked a time of 14.66secs for the 110m hurdles at the Mark Cawte Memorial Spring Open meeting in Swindon.

That time immediately put Cover, who is a member of Team Bath AC, third in the UK Rankings for U20 men with top spot going to the young man who beat him at Swindon, Harry Barton of Wells City Harriers.

And while his coach Colin Baross admits it is still very early in the season, he believes there is a lot more to come from Cover as well.

“In fact, that was only the second time that Jake has competed over that height of hurdles due to Covid restrictions and the lack of opportunities to compete last season,” said Baross.

“In 2020 he opened up with 14.99secs and we were really pleased with that as the target was to run under 15 seconds.

“Jake has worked very hard over the winter and has got a lot stronger and more powerful. He is a very focussed athlete and technically very good.

“Once we can find some more competitions I am sure he will run a lot quicker. We are going to chase Harry for that No 1 spot!”

Cover’s time was an English Schools’ national standard so should virtually guarantee him a place in the team for what will be his last appearance in the event before, hopefully, taking up a place to study at Cardiff Met University.

“We want Jake to go to the English Schools’ and England Age Group Championships if they both go ahead,” added Baross.

“It is still very difficult to plan as nothing is set in stone so we will take our opportunities when we can.”