International win for HHH as we defeat men’s and women’s teams from 3 countries in Italy

Herne Hill Harriers took a superb clean sweep of all the key prizes in a keenly fought match in the ancient and beautiful city of Viterbo, Italy. After lying second overall on the first day of the 2 day International athletics track and field team competition, the whole team rallied to take the second day by storm and clinch an overall match victory. Under a blazing sun and in an excellently organised competition, the Harriers outshone the opposition and victory was secured by a superb display in their final events for both men’s and women’s 4x400m relay, over local Italian team Viterbo and others from Granada Spain and the Netherlands, Amsterdam.

The two day international athletics quadrangular club competition was arranged as part of the celebrations for Viterbo’s selection as the European City of Sport 2012. Herne Hill Harrier’s selection to represent London at the meeting was eagerly accepted by 18 travelling HHH athletes of a considerable range of ages. Each athlete excelled in the excitement of such a prestigious competition, with Herne Hill’s Rebecca Zelic and Peter Phillips receiving individual women’s and men’s Athlete of the Match awards respectively. Personal bests were achieved by Alexander Bonnick in the Long jump who jumped 6.54m, Daniel Brown (200m 24.43), Nikki Sturzaker (1500m 5:05.91) and team manager Valdis Pauzers (5km walk 28:54.59). However the woman’s team were unstoppable on the track winning every event with superb performances from Michelle Watson who won the 100m & 200m and was part of the 4 x 100, as well as Monique Davis who won 400 & 800 and was part of the winning 4 x 400m. As the track victories racked up the team score to set up the final relay confrontations for overall victory.

Record of the event cannot omit the superb hospitality and commitment to detail of Viterbo Athletics Association and the fine spirit of friendship, keen sporting competition and enjoyment had by all the participants, many of whom had never had experience of such an international athletic event. The hospitality was extended to an final day party on the track itself, where all the Dutch, Spanish, Italian and Herne Hill athletes dined and danced together in the balmy evening atmosphere. A fantastic way to celebrate success and reinforce the unity of sport and the competing European nations.

Valdis Pauzers/Rupert Mainwaring.