Athletes clinch historic promotion

PUBLISHED: 17:22 07 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:30 05 October 2010

By Phil Ravitz VICTORIA Park and Tower Hamlets athletics club are back in Southern League Division One following a five-year break after clinching promotion last weekend. It all went Victoria Park s way on Saturday as they returned to the division for onl

By Phil Ravitz

VICTORIA Park and Tower Hamlets athletics club are back in Southern League Division One following a five-year break after clinching promotion last weekend.

It all went Victoria Park's way on Saturday as they returned to the division for only the third time in their history.

The club won their home match at Mile End Stadium in the sixth and last of this season's league meetings, while overall champions Enfield and Haringey pipped Ilford to second place - ensuring that Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets secured the two-point margin they needed to take the fifth and final promotion berth.

They will join Enfield and Haringey, Brighton and Hove, Hercules Wimbledon and Luton United in the higher division next season, while Ilford were consigned to another campaign in Division Two.

It is the club's second successive promotion, having won Division Three South last season and takes them back to the top regional standard - the second tier of British club athletics.

Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets were last in Southern League Div One in 2003 and before that - as Victoria Park Harriers - back in the late 1970s, when Hackney's great sprint star Mike McFarlane and decathlete Wayne Du Bois starred for the club.

Club chairman Terry Adams believes the current crop of athletes can help the club emulate those glory days in the coming seasons.

"I feel we are at our strongest since the 1970s when Mike and Wayne competed for us," he said.

"We have three athletes of international quality in the club at present in Rikki Fifton - who is in Beijing - Leevan Yearwood and Perri Shakes-Drayton and some of the best youngsters we have ever had.

"Next season will be one of consolidation at the higher standard, but our aim is to join neighbouring clubs like Newham and Essex Beagles and Woodford Green with Essex Ladies in the British League."

There were several outstanding performances at Mile End, as Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets assembled their strongest team of the campaign so far.

Yearwood ran in the A-string 100m and duly won while Hamim Lubega opted to represent the club rather than run at a National League meeting for his second club.

Sam Sillah (left), whose all-round abilities have made a key contribution to Victoria Park's successful campaign, was voted by his fellow team members as the club's man-of-the-series for the Southern League campaign.

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