National Gold for Reading AC Athlete

Reading ACs Sammy Ball has won the gold medal at the English Schools’ Junior Boys’ Pentathlon on 21 September 2019. Representing Berkshire Schools, Sammy started the championships with a solid 11.45 secs in the 80m hurdles 0.05 secs off his personal best and leaving him in third place overall. A fantastic performance in the second event, shot put, saw Sammy throw 12.82m surpassing his previous best by 44cm and placing him in first position in the overall competition. In the third event, long jump Sammy achieved 6.09m, 21cm below his best but left him entering the fourth event,high jump, with a seventy point lead.

Sammy knew, however, that his fourth event would be critical. Although the fourth event is high jump, Sammy also had to take into account that the final event is 800m and his closest rival is English School’s champion in that event with an ‘on-paper’ thirteen point (or 215 pentathlon points) advantage.

In the high jump Sammy’s previous best of 1.81m gave him an eleven centimetre (or 92 pentathlon points) advantage over his rival. It was going to be close. When his rival cleared 1.74m, Sammy dug into his experience and resilience to clear 1.86m (a new Reading AC club record).

Going into the 800m, Sammy had a 193 point (or about 11 seconds) advantage over his rival. Through determination and ‘grit’ Sammy managed to run over four seconds faster than he ever has before to keep the distance between them at five seconds and finishing in 2 mins 07.09 secs.

With an overall score of 3,356 points Sammy claimed gold and goes into the UK all-time record books as the second highest scoring U15 boy outdoor pentahlete and complementing his indoor all-time record attained in March 2019.

Sammy’s performance also contributed to the Berkshire team winning the overall bronze medal in the team competition.

Additionally, Sammy now qualifies by right to compete for England at an indoor international pentathlon in Glasgow on 30 November 2019. Well done.