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Young athletics stars shine at National Junior Athletics Championships

This weekend saw more than 140 young disabled athletes compete at the National Junior Athletics Championships in Coventry.

A girl jumps into a sand pit in the long jump at an athletics competition.

Across the two days, youngsters from across England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland took part in more than 60 races and 20 field events.

The event was attended by hundreds of spectators and volunteers, including 60 members of Lions clubs from across the country. Also attending was Sport England Chair, former Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman MBE, who presented medals to athletes, and Coventry’s Paralympic star Kare Adenegan.

Kare visited the track to cheer on competitors in a championships that she previously competed at as a junior. She said of the event:

"It was always an important part of my season. Even though I had things like World Championships to go to as well, this event was always really important for me to come to and put times down."

Leon, 17, from Bristol picked up a gold medal in the 100m, having only taken up athletics a year and a half ago.

He said:

"I was looking for something to do during the lockdown. I always did quite well in PE at school, so I did some searching online and found a programme where I could show them what I was made of. From there I’ve enjoyed the sport more and more.
"Since taking up athletics the last one and half years have been the best time of my life."

The event was this year supported by People’s Partnership, allowing Activity Alliance to put on a fantastic event.

Adam Blaze, Chief Executive of Activity Alliance said:

"We know how important these Championships are for young disabled people, but to see it in action this weekend was incredibly inspiring. From those picking up multiple gold medals to youngsters competing in their first race, one thing was apparent – the power of a truly inclusive event.
"We’re sure to see some of these young stars become international competitors. But more importantly every single young person got to enjoy the benefits of a quality experience with memories that will last a lifetime.
"The backing from People’s Partnership ensured we were able to put on an incredible event, and we are grateful for the support given by the Lions Club International volunteer team.
"These types of events are so important and we need to make sure they continue to offer every young person an opportunity to be active."

Patrick Heath-Lay, chief executive of People’s Partnership, said:

"It really has been a privilege to have been here and to have witnessed some incredible performances from amazing young athletes. We are delighted to be the principal sponsor of this year’s championships, which have been a celebration of inclusive sporting achievement."

Chris Boardman, Chair of Sport England, said:

"All of life's skills that you need for doing many, many other things can be experienced out there on the track. And in terms of just general health, this is something that inspires people to take part and to have a go themselves. And this is the pathway to either to stay and enjoy it as it is or go further and further and see how far you can push yourself."

You can find the full results to the Championships by clicking here.