Peterborough Athletic Club’s Daniel Mees struck gold on Sunday in the South of England Under 20 Championships held at the Lee Valley Stadium.
The 17-year- old Sir Harry Smith pupil won his 800m heat late on Saturday afternoon in a comfortable 1:57.15 which was the fastest time of all the qualifiers.
Less than 19 hours later he was in action again, this time he sat on the shoulder of the leader following the pace before kicking hard for home at the bell and it was the strength and determination of the Paul Larkins-coached athlete who triumphed in a time of 1:53.8. This is a title won by such names as Steve Ovett in the past.
In winning gold the Coates-based youngster also earned himself an invitation to compete for the South of England against team from the North, Midlands and Wales.
He said: “I’m really pleased, I hoped to win but you never know who will turn up or how the race will turn out. It was a long weekend, we travelled to Lee Valley on Saturday raced, travelled home again and then back again the next morning. I was a little tired but the opportunity to win was too exciting to mess up.”
Also in the final was training partner and team-mate Amittai Ben-Israel, who had set a PB of 2:01.79 to reach the final. He ran really well to finish eighth in 2:03.
“I’m really proud of both of them,” said his coach Larkins, a former sub four minute miler and someone who could only finish fifth in the same event at the same age in 1980.
“It was easily Dan’s best run. It really showed there’s something special for the future. He is a year young so he’ll be able to defend his title next year. I really think he has a bit more to come this year and once he gets into the right race we will see him go much quicker.
“To be honest in some ways I’m more impressed with Ammo’s race; to make the final is in itself a magnificent achievement and again, I think he’ll run under two minutes for 800m this summer.”
Mees has really improved this season and just 12 months ago he was still playing county hockey at the weekends as well as training for that sportThankfully for PAC he decided to concentrate on athletics.
Interestingly the championship best performance is held by former Peterborough AC member Andrew Lill at 1:48.70 set in 1990 eight years before Mees was born.
PAC long jumper Joel Grenfell placed sixth in the senior men’s final with a leap of 6.69, he was the first Under 23 athlete.