OVER 200 young disabled athletes enjoyed a weekend full of track and field events as the National Junior Athletics Championships came to Warwick University.
Youngsters from the North East collected the team trophy for a third consecutive year after accumulating enough team points to lift the winner’s trophy in glorious Coventry sunshine.
North East’s Rebecca Morton collected the Lions Club’s Endeavour trophy, while track athletes Liam Simons (Pool Academy- South West) and Olivia Gallagher (Weir Archer Academy- South East) won Outstanding Male and Female Performances.
Many will tune into the Rio Paralympics later this summer and this annual event showed why it is renowned for finding the country’s future track and field champions. It did not fail to disappoint this weekend with a list of personal bests and notable performances for athletes aged 11 to 19.
Elite disabled athletes began their own success at this prestigious event, including Hannah Cockroft, Aled Davies, Hollie Arnold and Shelly Woods. Another, Ben Rowlings, double T34 bronze medallist at the recent IPC Athletics European Championships, delighted the young stars when he presented the winning trophies at the closing ceremony.
Earlier Rowlings watched athletes, who may follow in his path, compete on his club’s home track (Coventry Godiva Harriers). All individual medal performances accumulated points for their regions, which helps to boost competition for the Team Trophy.
The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) organised the Championships and national events manager for EFDS, Jannine Walker, said: “We really enjoy putting this event on as we know how much the juniors value the opportunity to come together with athletes from other regions.
“This year was no different as we had first timers and potential champions taking part. We would like to extend our thanks to Lions Club International, the officials, volunteers and all the teachers, parents and supporters who work tirelessly to ensure this event is memorable for everyone.”