Sam Parsons went from agony to ecstasy at the Sussex Athletics Championships at the weekend.

Twelve months ago Parsons' season came to a premature end when he broke his collarbone after taking a tumble in the final of the 400m hurdles.

The 21-year-old Brighton and Hove City athlete put those painful memories behind him on Saturday when he clinched gold in the same event at Crawley's K2 Centre.

Parsons, whose mother Lesley was also a 400m hurdles champion, added silver in the javelin and girlfriend Laura Hitchman made it a weekend to remember by picking up four gold medals with victory in the under-20 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x100m relay.

The pair's performance earned them a call-up to the Sussex squad for the Inter-Counties Championships next weekend and Parsons admits it is a far cry from the despair he felt 12 months ago.

He said: "It was a nightmare when I broke my collarbone because I was coming off the back of a good winter's training and had already knocked a second off my old personal best and wanted to push on.

"I had high hopes for the season but then I had the accident. I was leading at the 200m mark but I misjudged a hurdle and knew I was going to hit it even before I got there.

"I crashed to the floor but it didn't hurt too much at first and I tried to carry on. It must have been the adrenaline because after a few strides it was agony and I had to stop.

"The hurdles can be a pretty dangerous event as you've got to get it right but I tried not to think about what happened last year when I was running on Saturday. People kept trying to remind me but I steered clear of them.

"I had a scarey moment near the end when I clipped the final hurdle and thought I might go over again for a split-second but managed to stay on my feet to win.

"The time was about a second and a half down on my best this season but the wind was so bad it was just a relief to get around to be honest.

"It was only my third competition of the season so there should be plenty of room for improvement. I want to get my time down to sub-55 seconds and make the finals at the South of England and AAAs Championships."

Parsons and Hitchman will be in action again for Brighton and Hove City this weekend, Parsons in the Southern Men's League at Eton and Hitchman in the Southern Women's League at Withdean.

The pair met while training together 18 months ago and have emerged as two of the club's hottest young prospects, helping their respective sides to promotion to division one last season.

Hitchman, competing in her eighth County Championships and her most successful yet, found time between winning her four gold medals to cheer on her boyfriend but admits the memory of last year made it difficult to watch.

Hitchman, 18, said: "He fell just before I was due to run in the 400m last year and seeing him in pain was not the best preparation for a race.

"I was cheering him on again from the stands this year and was keeping my fingers crossed nothing went wrong. It was such a relief when he got around because he was miserable after getting injured last year.

"It was a brilliant weekend for both of us. I was really pleased with the way I performed because I set a new personal best in the 400m (57.90sec) and equalled my PB in the 100m (12.5sec).

"I was hoping to win the 200m but to pick up four gold medals was beyond my expectations.

I've not had much practice at the 400m and only entered the 100m to have another race and winning the relay was a bonus too.

"Stepping up my training this last winter to six days a week has paid off and I would like to set my sights higher to the 2012 Olympics.

"It would be really helpful to get sponsorship to enable me to follow my dream."