England Combined Events Championships
Manchester 19/20th August 2017
Central AC’s Matt Chandler was on great form as he took a superb silver medal at the England Combined events championships. The 16 year old was competing in the under 17 Decathlon in the event held at Manchester’s Sportcity. The England championships brings together the best all‑rounders from throughout the UK but it was the Scots who were the ones to watch after Matt was one of three Scots who swept the podium at the equivalent indoor championships back in March. Matt won bronze that day behind winner Joel McFarlane of Arbroath and Robbie Farquhar of Aberdeen and was looking to improve on that position but with both the other Scots there and a strong field of English and Welsh athletes it was going to be tough.
He opened well with 11.95s in the 100m, a respectable time into a strong headwind for 10th place but with stronger events to come Matt was confident of improving. He then long jumped 6.35m in wet conditions, the 3rd furthest of the day, to move up onto 3rd. After a couple of below expectation performances in the shot (9.94m) and his strong high jump event (1.77m) saw him slip to 5th meaning he had to dig in at the 400m. An excellent run of 52.73s, a near pb, in wet windy conditions, was 4th quickest of the day and enough to pull him up to 4th overall, well within sight of the medals at the end of the first day.
Joel was well ahead but Matt knew it was going to be tight for the other medals between himself, Robbie Farquahar in 2nd and Rob Worman of Cheltenham in 3rd.
Matt opened the 2nd day strongly with an excellent 100m hurdles as he was just pipped for the win by Robbie Farquhar with 14.03s. But he did beat Rob Worman to close the gap on 3rd to 39 points. He then produced his first personal best of the weekend in the discus with 36.95m to close the gap further. Matt then went into his strongest event, the pole vault, knowing he needed a good performance to get ahead of his opponents. With Rob Farquhar leaving with a best jump of 3.68m Matt knew he could gain points. Matt went clear at 3.98m but when both Joel and Rob went clear Matt knew he had to do even more. He duly delivered as he cleared 4.08m, and with no other athletes clearing that height he had won the pole vault and moved up into 3rd place. Another near personal best followed in the javelin with 38.20m to close the gap on 2nd but Matt still had work to do in the 1500m. He needed to beat Rob by 11 seconds to get into 2nd place but Matt ran hard and smashed his personal best by over 4 seconds to run 4:51.65. He finished 22 seconds clear of Rob to finish in 2nd place overall and take the silver medal. His score of 6167 points was a new club record and puts him 5th on the Scottish all-time list for the age group.
Joel MacFarlane, who competes second claim for Central AC at Youth Development league matches, took the gold in a superb championship record 6594 points. Aberdeen’s Robbie Farquhar was unable to repeat the Scottish medal sweep at the indoor event, finishing 70 points behind Rob Worman of Cheltenham, for 4th. However with 3 Scots in the top 4, Matt, Joel and Robbie will be teaming up later this year at the home nations combined events international, looking to end Scotland’s long wait for a win.