Last weekend Aiden Davies finally made the top step of the podium in his fourth English Schools Combined Events Championships. Aiden struck Gold in the Senior Boys Decathlon at the 27th ESAA CE Championship held at the Princess Royal Arena, Boston, with a personal best score of 6844 points, 110 clear of his nearest rival Lewis Church from Kent.
Aiden started the day with a win in the 100m with a time of 11.33 seconds.
After this first event his main rival, Nicholas Hunt from Dorset, pulled out of the competition and left the way clear for Aiden to go on to take the championship.
He certainly didn’t have it all his own way though, and lost the lead in the second event to Durham’s Anthony Hogg who jumped a massive 6.93m in the long jump compared with Aiden’s 6.54m. He did however gain it back by putting the shot a near PB of 13.30m in event three, only to lose it again to Anthony after the high jump, despite jumping a PB (and DAC record) height of 1.88m.
Aiden posted the fastest 400m time of 49.97 secs to end day one in second place with a score of 3694 points.
Day 2 started with the 110m Hurdles and Aiden ran a seasonal best time of 15.18 secs, the third fastest time, but was narrowly beaten by the still event leader Anthony Hogg. Aiden took the lead of the competition back in the discus despite a below par best throw of 36.25m, and kept the lead then until the end of the competition.
He still wasn’t cut and dry though and going into the Pole Vault he knew he had to do something special to win the competition as, at this point, Hereford & Worcestershire’s Linton Gardiner was only 245 points behind him with three really strong events for him coming up. Sure enough, Aiden rose to the challenge with another PB in the Pole Vault of 4.00m, which was also another DAC record.
The javelin was once again a disaster as all Aiden could manage with an injured elbow was two throws, the best being 35.84m, more than 10m less than both his main rivals. He therefore went into the 1500m knowing that he had to finish no more than 5 seconds behind Lewis Church and 20 seconds behind Linton Gardiner to win the competition. On paper, this was going to be a challenge for Aiden to achieve it. Sure enough, Linton went off like a train, as he usually does, with Lewis and Aiden shadowing each other some way behind. After 800m, Aiden started to kick and left Lewis in his wake, chasing after Linton who finished the race in 4:19.75, with Aiden in second (4:31.57) and Lewis in third (4:39.68).
This was enough for Aiden to retain his lead and finish the comp with 6844 points, with Lewis Church in 2nd with 6734, Linton Gardiner in 3rd with 6707 points and the day one leader Anthony Hogg dropping back to 4th with 6141 points.
As Aiden now starts the next chapter of his life at Leeds Beckett University, he would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Doncaster Athletic Club for helping him make his dreams of competing for GB and winning the English Schools Decathlon come true.
To all his club mates and training partners, some of whom have become life-long friends and kept him motivated, helping to make those dreary winter evenings at the Keepmoat seem more bearable. To all the supporters, friends and family who have encouraged him along the way.
To all the coaches that have given him their expert guidance over the years – Paul Brown who introduced him to the club at the age of 11, John Blackshaw, Aiden’s first multi-events coach, Steve Harrison and Bernard Minnikin, and last but by no means least, the one person whose years of dedication, hard work, enthusiasm and superb coaching made it all possible – BRUCE BEWLEY.
(Report for South Yorkshire Heptathletes to follow tomorrow)