Vale teenager wins British pentathlon title

VALE competitor Harry Sykes was crowned modern pentathlon under 17s winner at the British Championships in Solihull.

The Olympic sport consists of five disciplines – fencing, swimming, show jumping, running and shooting with the latter two combined to create an exciting finale.

Sykes faced three athletes, who are on the Great Britain team for the European Championships in Hungary next month.

He missed out on selection for the Euros after breaking his arm in May but winning the British title made up for some of the disappointment.

The pupil at Bowbrook House School, Peopleton, started with the fencing phase, beating 17 out of 22 opponents for top score in his age group.

In the 200-metre swim, Sykes, who competes for the Pershore club, set a personal best with two minutes eight seconds securing first place.

The teenager then coped well over a course of 12 show jumps on a horse he had not ridden before.

Sykes did well to complete the round with just 28 penalties for knocking one pole down.

In the combined run and shoot, which was repeated three times, Sykes had to fire at five knock-down targets within 30 seconds before racing 800m around a track and back.

Sykes held his nerve when the second-placed athlete shot the targets quicker and looked to be overtaking.

But the Vale contender came back in the second shoot phase with a strong run despite heavy rain.

Sykes, backed by Rivers Leisure Centres, finished in great style 15 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

He was selected to join Pentathlon GB's world class pathway last year involving training and competing at international level.

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