BASINGSTOKE’S Owen Richardson admitted that defending his Sainsbury’s School Games 400m title was even better than claiming it in the first place.

Heading to Manchester’s Regional Athletics Centre, Richardson was already able to toast a golden season, having won 400m gold at the English Championships the previous week.

And the 17-year-old wasn’t about to let another title pass him by as he crossed the line in 48.73 seconds to claim gold, 0.40 seconds ahead of Psalm Roberts Nash.

Richardson went into the race as the one to beat having topped the podium last year, and the Basingstoke and Mid Hants AC star was delighted to see lightning strike twice.

“It’s a great atmosphere at the Sainsbury’s 2015 School Games,” he said. “There are lots of different teams everywhere so it’s great that you can get to know new people.

“It was a good race for me. I set my mind to put quite a strong marker over the first 200m in case I did start to tire at the end I had something to fall back on. It was a little bit windy down the back straight but I managed to come home with a gold.

“This is definitely one of my most important golds. I won this competition last year as well but this year’s a lot more meaningful because I had to work a lot harder this year to get to this point.

“It’s the atmosphere here. Everyone is really friendly and everyone will always say well done and good luck for your races.

“Next year I will be moving up an age group to Under-20s so I’ve definitely got to work hard over the winter.”

The Sainsbury’s 2015 School Games is the UK’s largest multi-sport event for elite level, school-age athletes and is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.

And there was more success for Basingstoke and Mid Hants AC as Mair Edwards won 200m gold and James Beeks claimed the 1500m steeplechase title.

“I went into it with the best PB so I thought I’d run the first two laps fairly steady and if no one was around me then I’d go for the time,” said 16-year-old Beeks.

“And if not then I’d just keep on the pace until the last and leave my kick for the last lap.

“But when I came round after two laps there were people with me so I waited until the last lap before I made my kick.

“Winning gold means quite a lot because after winning the steeplechase and going into the nationals last week I was expected to do quite well, but I had a cold during the week and ended up not finishing the race. So to come back this week, a week later, and have a really strong race and take gold, feels good.”

The Clere School pupil Holly Mills also won gold, winning the long jump, while Basingstoke and Mid Hants’ Amelia Cook claimed a silver medal in the shot.

l The Sainsbury’s 2015 School Games is supported by a range of partners including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Sport England, Youth Sport Trust, Department of Health and British Paralympic Associa-tion. The Games were held in venues across Manchester from 3-6 September 2015. Visit for more information.