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National decathlon title for Downs ace Bladon

Team Kennet athlete crowned English schools champion after victory in Exeter

STUART Bladon of The Downs School and Team Kennet was crowned English Schools Decathlon champion on Sunday.

Bladon had qualified for the final in Exeter by winning the South East regional decathlon in Basingstoke in June with a personal best 6,743 points.

However, the blustery conditions in Exeter over the weekend were much less conducive to high scores.

Bladon began on Saturday with a time of 11.52 in the 100m, only 0.02 off his personal best, but this time into a 2.3m/s headwind.

The high jump is one of Bladon’s strengths – he has competed at English Schools in this individual event.

But on Saturday he only had one clearance, at 1.77m, 15cm below his best, which dropped him to third.

After a good 400m of 51.4s, he was in second overnight to Adam Booth of Hampshire.

On Sunday Booth extended his lead with an excellent 110m hurdles, but the tide turned in the eighth event, the pole vault.

Booth went out after 3.50m and Bladon capitalised by matching his own PB of 3.80 before taking the lead with 48.72m in the javelin.

With only the 1,500m to go, Booth had nothing to lose and attacked hard, setting an explosive pace of 66.0 through the first 400m.

But Bladon tracked him and passed him on the back straight of the last lap, to finish in 4:50s with a total of 6,468 points.

Reuben Langdon from Newbury Athletic Club finished ninth with 5,128 points.

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