Sheffield decathlete zeros in on 'best event' to win 400m gold

National U17 Gold 400m winner Ruben StovellNational U17 Gold 400m winner Ruben Stovell
National U17 Gold 400m winner Ruben Stovell
Nether Edge teenager won gold at the England Athletics Indoor Championships

A Sheffield decathlete won the National Athletics under-17 400m race, despite competing with specialist 400m runners.

Sixteen-year-old Ruben Stovell from Nether Edge took home gold in last month's championships at the English Institute of Sport, recording a new personal best of 49.06 seconds.

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He trains once a week for the 400m, balancing his schedule with other parts of the Decathlon training such as long jump and shot put. Some of his competitors will train three or four times per week for the 400m exclusively.

“I picked 400m because it’s my best event.” he said. “Decathlon’s good because it’s quite tactical. You’re thinking about the score at the end, so you have to be mentally strong to jump between events.”

Stovell’s athletic talent was clear from an early age in his primary school cross-country races. He later joined Hallamshire Harriers, which he soon outgrew in both ability and height, ending up “literally a foot taller than everyone else”.

He was keen to credit his coach John Lane, the former international athlete who he’s trained with since joining City of Sheffield and Dearne Athletics Club. “His philosophy is really good. He wants to prepare me as a junior to succeed as a senior, instead of pushing me too hard now.”

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Ruben’s Dad, Andy, said “I admire him for his long-term vision, that discipline and commitment he has.”

Last year Ruben finished fifth in the English Schools Championships despite being a year below his other competitors. According to Andy, this year he’s “looking to win.”

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