Hercules Wimbledon AC welcomed home its Young Athletes Open meeting after 33 years, leading athletics coach Rob Russell to proclaim the atmosphere as the best yet.

The event has been held at Crystal Palace Sports Centre since its inception in 1981, but Hercules Wimbledon moved the event to their home stadium to mark the completing of renovation work costing £100,000.

More than 600 athletes from clubs across the south of England descended on Wimbledon Park on Sunday to do battle on track and field.

Russell, a coach with visitors Dorking & Mole Valley AC, said: “The move to Wimbledon made the atmosphere even better than before.

“The spectators, coaches, family and athletes were less spread out and were closer to the action, which really intensified the atmosphere.”

Being at home seemed to inspire the hosts as Chad Miller won the boys’ U15 100m in a personal best of 11.93 seconds, and took silver in the 200m with another personal best of 24.92secs.

Clubmate and new-comer Jaleel Ropar made an impressive track debut to win a hat-trick of medals.

The pupil from Haslemere Primary School, Mitcham, took second place in the boys’ U13 200m and 800m in 28.26secs and two minutes 38.39secs, and third in the 100m in 13.80secs.

There were also bronze medals for Joe Lorenzo (U15s long jump), Oliver Mace (U13s shot), Ruby Henderson (U17s long jump) and Caspar Parsons (U11s 600m).

Event official Tom Pollak hailed the efforts of more than 20 clubs for making the trip to Wimbledon Park for the six-hour meeting.

“We had clubs from as far as Norwich and Portsmouth, but also from Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Kent,” he said.

“We’re very grateful, and it made for a great day’s competition with some long-standing meeting records being broken.”

Kingston & Polytechnic’s Mollie O’Sullivan broke the U15s record over 1,500m dating back to 1985 (4:41.8), winning in 4:37.72, while Highgate’s Georgia Fear took more than a second off the 1,500m U17s record, clocking 4:41.6, set in 1987.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Back at Wimbledon Park: Hercules Wimbledon Mimi Vanderstoep (yellow top) in the Young Athletes Open 800m

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Caspar Parsons

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Dylan Jeffs

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Michael Lammie