A TRIO of north Hampshire athletes claimed gold medals at the South of England under-15 and under-17 championships, held at Ashford, in Kent.

The Clere School student Holly Mills picked up two medals, while Basingstoke and Mid Hants stars Owen Richardson and James Beeks also claimed victories.

Mills was particularly excellent in the under-17 long jump, leaping 6.29m, a new championship record and almost a metre further than her closest rival.

She also claimed a silver medal in the 80m hurdles, winning her heat in 11.57sec before finishing second in the final, stopping the clock at 11.33sec.

Richardson produced his best run of an injury-hit season to win the under-17 400m. Having won his heat in 50.16sec, the Basingstoke sprinter clocked a season's best 48.97sec to win the final by more than a second and move up to fourth in the British rankings.

Beeks was in impressive form in the under-17 1,500m steeplechase, finishing almost two seconds clear of the field in 4min 23.86sec, a new personal best.

Meanwhile, at Down Grange, Basingstoke and Mid Hants' Southern Athletics League team secured a good win in their final match of the season.

There were plenty of good performances for the hosts, with three athletes winning two A string events.

Myles Richardson did the sprint double, winning the 100m and 200m, while decathlete Sam Sleap won the high jump and discus. Jenny Helyar was the other double winner, finishing first in the javelin and 2,000m steeplechase.

It was a close contest overall, with Basingstoke edging out second-placed Chelmsford by just three-and-a-half points to take victory.

The result means that they end the season ninth in the 16-strong division and will compete in the top tier again next year.