5 Jul

Superhuman Efforts At Junior Championships

Disabled Youngsters Go For Gold At National Junior Athletics Championships

Disabled youngsters from across the country epitomised the Paralympic motto ‘Spirit in Motion’ showing grit and a determination to succeed at last weekend's (2–3 July) National Junior Athletics Championships. The event saw regional teams competing for individual medals in track and field on a sunny weekend in the West Midlands. 

More than 200 young disabled athletes from schools and clubs took part in this popular annual event at the University of Warwick’s athletics track in Coventry. It was organised by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) with sponsorship from Typhoo Tea and support from the Lions Club International. 
This event has two aims: the first one is to increase access to athletics and sport in general for disabled children; the second one to discover the Paralympian stars of the future. To nurture the next generation of track and field champions who aspire to be the next David Weir (the ‘Weirwolf’), Hannah Cockroft or Shelly Woods. These elite athletes began their careers at the Junior Nationals and continue to support them, investing in the next generation. 
An example of this is the Weir Archer Academy for young wheelchair athletes, set up in 2013 by the ‘Weirwolf’ and his coach Jenny Archer. They had a successful weekend with four golds, one silver and a bronze medal in the relay. 
The weekend’s outstanding performances from young athletes aged 11 to 19 bodes well for the future. All individual performances accumulated points for each region helping to contribute towards the team championship. 
Liam Simons of Pool Academy (South West region) won the Outstanding Male Performance trophy and Olivia Gallagher of the Weir Archer Academy (South East region) won the Outstanding Female Performance trophy.  
The North East region won the team championship trophy for the third year in a row.

Image courtesy of Freuds