Exeter Harrier Sam Talbot smashed several records on his way to winning the under-20 men’s national indoor heptathlon title – at the age of 16.
As a result of his performance, Talbot has now been invited to compete for GB in an international in Spain in February. And his long jump display has opened up the opportunity for him to compete in the National Senior Championships at the end of February if he is sufficiently recovered from the international.
Former St Peter’s School pupil Talbot scored 5,510 points overall, surpassing the old championship record set in 209 by 138 points.
“I was feeling great going into to competition” said Talbot. “My continued struggle with shin splints meant I had enforced rest in the week leading up to it.
“The long jump was undoubtedly my best performance of the weekend. I was expecting to get a PB but I never imagined jumping a distance of over 7.50m.
“Overall I’m delighted with my performance and can’t wait to represent GB in the international in Spain next month. I’m hoping to better my 5,510 score there.”
Talbot dominated the event, never relinquishing his lead from first event through to last.
Day one started with a new lifetime best in the 60m, although Talbot recognised room for improvement.
“The 60m wasn’t really the start I was looking for as I fell out of the blocks and stumbled,” he said.
Talbot was firing on all cylinders for the second event, the long jump, and his second of the three trials produced a phenomenal leap of 7.51m, surpassing his old PB by 36cm. He was the only athlete to clear 7m.
Talbot’s shot putt of 12.62m was another PB, but with two no-throws he was under pressure to produce on the final trial.
He had a best pole vault clearance of 3.82m which was 18cm off his best but is a new indoor PB. Talbot said: “Pole vault was probably the event I was most disappointed with as I had been vaulting really well in training. Despite this it wasn’t a disaster and set me up nicely for day two.”
The 60m hurdles saw Talbot start day two on top form.
“My hurdles were strong considering I’d never run over the under-20 height before,” he said.
Talbot’s high jump has been his nemesis in the past but not this time, with a clearance of 1.87m adding 7cm to his previous best to secure his lead.
“The high jump was another shock performance as I was unable to do any training for a couple of weeks before hand due to my shins,” said Talbot.
Another new PB in the final event saw Talbot clock 2.44.60 in the 1,000m, the second quickest in the field.
Clubmate Anya Turner, who is also new to the under-20 age group, also competed in the championships.
Anya (second left) finished 13th in the one-day pentathlon and produced a good set of performances, particularly her 60m hurdles, which was her first run over the new specification.
“As my first under-20 competition, with some formidable opponents both GB and Commonwealth athletes, I was really pleased with the outcome of the hurdles, shot and overall points PB,” said Turner, who achieved a bronze medal as the third-placed Midlands & South West athlete.
“I enjoyed the high level standard of the competition and I was glad to be part of it. I know where my improvements need to be and I will be working hard on them for the forthcoming year. I’ve learnt valuable lesson from the competition.”
Turner scored 3,194 points, with 9.32secs in the hurdles, 1.60m in the high jump, 9.75m in the shot putt and finished the 800m in 2.42.28.