Sussex Records for Baptiste and Harries

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Sussex sprinters Kim Baptiste from Crawley and Toby Harries (Brighton Phoenix) broke Sussex 200 metre records on the second day of the British Championships and World Championship Trials at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.

On Saturday Baptiste, who is certainly on great form, reached the semi-final of the 100 metres, when smashing her own Sussex record with 11.62s but failed to reached the final but on Sunday she ran a blazing 200m heat to finish second in 20.62 to better Club mate Carley Wenham’s 14 year old record of 23.59s with 23.34s. This fine run took her into the final where she finished a marvellous fourth in 23.36s.

Harries, who is still returning from a lengthy lay off through injury, ran into a brilliant third place in his 200 metre heat bettering his own Sussex record by two one hundredths of a second in 20.90s.

Harries however elected not to take up his place in the final.

These runs and a third place for Seb Rodger from Eastbourne in the 400 m hurdles were the Sussex highlights on the second day of the Championships.

Despite the bronze medal it was a disappointing run from Rodger who left himself too much to do over the second half of the race but still looked set for the silver medal until he stuttered into the final hurdle and was caught and passed by Jacob Paul from Windsor who clocked 49.66s to the Sussex runner’s 50.23s.

Hopes were high for Charlie Grice (Phoenix) in the final of the 1,500m but things did not work out well. Although he led a rather slowish race through the bell when arch rival Chris O’Hara from Edinburgh’s made his effort with 300m to go he seemed unable to respond and he was also lacking his usual fiery finish off the final bend and he slipped back to finish fifth in 3:48.84s.

He was in fact the first English finisher as the first four athletes were all Scots.

This run could cast a question mark over a possible place in the World Championship squad.

Club mate Robbie Fitzgibbon, who did a good job of protecting Grice in the early stages of the race  finished ninth in 3:50.91s.

County long jump record holder Tom French, who has been out of action for a year made an impressive return to top class competition taking eighth place in 7.36m in the long jump while County 110m hurdle champion Matt Hewitt finished fifth in his High hurdles heat in 14.8s, his fastest time at National Championships.

Surrey athlete Jade Lally, who now lives in Sussex, won the discus title with a below par throw of 58.14m but this should assure her of a place in the World Championships