BASINGSTOKE and Mid Hants athlete Caius Joseph became the national under-20 champion last weekend when he won the England Championships, held at the Bedford International Arena.

The all-rounder firmly has established himself on the national decathlon scene with his win and points total of 6,469, an almost 500 point improvement from last year.

Joseph scored life time bests in the shot putt (12.41 metres) and high jump (1.84 metres) on day one of the gruelling decathlon event.

He finished day one in the lead after favourite Howard Bell of Edinburgh Harriers retired due to injury.

Day two saw Joseph fight for every point with a strong challenge coming from Poole decathlete Ryan Long who produced a very fast 110m hurdles to close the lead on Joseph at the start of day two.

The Basingstoke athlete responded with two further life time bests in the pole vault (3.93m) and Javelin (42.23m) to secure his first title.

Joseph now concentrates on the Regional Schools Decathlon Championships at the end of June, in the hope of contesting a podium finish at the English Schools Championships in September held in Boston.

Joseph believes he has more to come having nursed some niggles over the last three weeks on his take-off leg which had restricted his jump training and believes some targeted sessions for his sprint events will see a score in excess of 6,600 points achievable.

He is now ranked second in Britain in the under-20 rankings behind the talented Sam Talbot and still has a further year in this age group.

Father and coach Rafer, a former international decathlete himself and mother Tracy, also a former international medal winning athlete, believe Caius could gain international honours in 2018 if further progress is made, continuing the strong tradition of international decathletes in Basingstoke which include Bill Jewers, Ben Hazell, John Dickenson, Sam Sleap, Rob Kite, and Dean Showler-Davies.