Katrina Kemp successfully defends her combined events title at schools athletics championships, while Isabella Blowers also wins

Kemp and co

Kemp and co - Credit: Archant

Katrina Kemp, of West Suffolk AC, successfully defended her title at the recent Eastern Region round of the prestigious English Schools Combined Events Championships.

Kemp, a pupil at County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds, had won in 2014 as a first year junior girl.

She made a confident start to her title defence, with a time of 12.4secs in the hurdles, which was just outside her personal best, but considerably better than at the same stage last year.

The points won (630) put her in sixth position, but a massive personal best of 11 metres in the shot put (595 points) catapulted her to the top of the leaderboard, a position she would not relinquish.

The lead was slim, with just four points separating her from the second athlete but, as the competition built, so did her lead.

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The third discipline was the high jump, where a clearance of 1.54m in atrocious conditions gave her 666 points, increasing her lead to 38 points.

Kemp went on to win the long jump with a leap of 5.05m, the points total going up to 2,464 and the competition lead to 57 points.

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Crucially, the third-placed athlete was a full 185 points adrift, and, with Kemp’s ability over 800 metres, the only one who could present any threat in the final event was the second-placed athlete.

As it happened, only three athletes out of the 24 taking part were able to run faster than Kemp, and her closest rival ran much slower, dropping down in the final rankings to sixth place.

Kemp’s time of 2mins 31.4secs gave her 675 points and was good enough to stretch her lead further, seeing her run-out as the winner by 250 points. Jessica Wiley, from Essex, finished second, more than 300 points behind.

When Kemp won this event last year, she scored 2,867 points, while her biggest outdoor total was at the English Schools Championships in September, when she amassed 3,072 points.

In this first outdoor pentathlon of 2015, Kemp won with 3,139 points, marking a very promising start to the season.

Kemp was part of a junior girls’ Suffolk team which finished third out of seven competing teams. She was supported by two members of Ipswich Harriers, who both competed well in their first pentathlons. Bella Keeley took 14th place, and Harriers’ club-mate Hannah Lygo was 23rd.

Meanwhile, Suffolk also enjoyed success in the Intermediate Girls’ age group, where Isabella Blowers, of Ipswich Harriers, tasted victory.

Competing in her first combined events competition, Blowers won the hurdles to take a slim lead over her 10 opponents.

Only a below-par long jump prevented her from leading throughout the two days.

She went on to correct that with an excellent javelin throw, in excess of 33 metres, which was five metres better than the field.

Blowers ended up as the overall winner by 204 points. Along with Kemp, she has qualified to represent Suffolk at the National Schools Championships, to be held at Bedford in September.

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