MATT Barnes was overjoyed after being crowned European 1500m Champion last weekend at the European Masters Athletics Championships in Jesolo, Italy.

Competing in the v40 age category, Barnes won his semi final relatively comfortably, controlling the race from the front and easing down in a time of 4.15.93.

However, it was a tough final, with a stiffer challenge coming for the 42-year-old from Walton.

After a slow early pace in a keenly contested final, Barnes hit the front with 300 metres to go.

But was overtaken by Francesco Nadalutti from Italy, and had to dig deeply into his reserves to summon a late charge to pass the Italian with only 30 metres remaining.

Barnes winning time was 4.12.95, with the last 300m covered in a remarkably rapid 42 seconds.

Nadalutti took silver ahead of Bronislov Ghyr of the Czech Republic.

Barnes was delighted with his latest track success.

He said: “It was a really tough race.

“I knew it would be tactical and my coach and I had discussed that I needed to stay focussed for when the move came.

“The Italian came by really fast but I kept my composure and was able to haul him in before the finish.

“It has been a really good year for me and I am grateful for the support I have received along the way including from LiveWire and the Village Hotel in accessing great facilities in the Warrington area.”

This latest success caps a fine summer for Barnes.

Earlier in the year he was crowned National Sprint Distance Triathlon Champion in Nottingham in June, before turning his attention to athletics over the latter stages of the summer.

With the seasons about to change, Barnes will now return to endurance-based training as he looks to compete over cross country and road events during the autumn and winter seasons.