Gearey makes it a hat-trick of British titles - The Evesham Observer

Gearey makes it a hat-trick of British titles

Evesham Editorial 29th Nov, 2016 Updated: 30th Nov, 2016   0

EVESHAM’S Will Gearey secured a hat-trick of national titles as he won the under 14 biathlon championship at the British Modern Biathlon Championships at Tudor Grange in Solihull.

Thirteen-year-old Gearey, who attends Prince Henry’s High School in Evesham and swims for Worcester SC, holds a phenomenal record in the biathlon, having won his first British title in 2014 and then successfully defended it in 2015.

The modern biathlon comprises separate timed swim (100m) and run (1,600m), with points allocated for each individual event.

The British Championships attract competitors from all over the UK, with many of the top age group youngsters representing specialist triathlon clubs or famous schools of sporting excellence such as Whitgift, Millfield and Plymouth College.

Gearey had qualified for this year’s national final as number one seed, having won the West Midlands Biathlon Championship with a strong performance in October.

In the 100m freestyle, Gearey was seeded one and hoping to set the fastest time of the day to give himself a good lead at the halfway point.

Drawn in the final and fastest heat, Gearey found himself in a lane between Harrison Barber from Biddulph High School (Staffordshire) and Luke Fowle from Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School (Kent).

The swim went with the seeding, with Gearey and Barber going into an early lead from the gun and turning at 50m almost three body lengths ahead of Fowle.

Gearey then extended his lead over Barber in the final 50m to hit the wall in a very quick time of 56.10 (1,360 points), with Barber second in 57.98 (1,324 points) and Fowle touching back in third in 1.0.33 (1,276 points).

At the halfway point, although Gearey held the lead, he knew the run specialists including the national cross country champion would be aiming to close the gap on the 1,600m run.

As expected, the 1,600m run proved to be a challenging affair for Gearey, with the cold and cross wind across the track making conditions more difficult.

The 1,600m race started at a tremendous pace and with quite a bit of jostling for position, with the run specialists going off into an early lead that was too fast for Gearey.

Gearey made the sensible decision to run his own race, knowing he just had to maintain the gap to 25 seconds to Fowle to retain his title.

With 400m to go, Gearey was finding the going very tough, but he continued to fight and showed tremendous grit and determination.

Harley Norman from Whitgift School crossed the line in first place in a staggering time of 4.42.98 (1,436 points), with Fowle finishing strongly to take fourth in 5.00.84 (1,346 points).

Gearey managed to dig deep for one final sprint down the home straight to cross the line in 5.13.40 (1,283 points).

The final leaderboard saw Gearey crowned national biathlon champion with a total of 2,643 points, just 21 ahead of Fowle who claimed silver with 2,622 and Liam Openshaw from Poole Grammar School who was third on 2,584 points.

Dr Tony Evans, headmaster of Prince Henry’s High School, commented: “We are all very proud of Will’s achievements and his success is just reward for all the hours spent training.”

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