Marathon leg­ends set to clash

ATH­LETES BEN­E­FIT FROM TRACK & FIELD TOURS PRIZE WITH TRIP OF A LIFE­TIME

Athletics Weekly - - News -

AMONG the thou­sands of spec­ta­tors at the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships were a group of young ath­letes from Stock­port Harriers with their coaches.

They were the lucky win­ners of a prize for 25 peo­ple pro­vided by Track & Field Tours at the 2016 Eng­land Ath­let­ics hall of fame din­ner to cel­e­brate the 25th an­niver­sary of the ath­let­ics event tour op­er­a­tor start­ing busi­ness in 1991.

The prize was won at the din­ner event by long-term Stock­port Har­rier mem­ber Stephen Fowler, who do­nated it to the club’s team man­age­ment. They then de­cided to se­lect from the var­i­ous young ath­lete train­ing squads at the club and the group that went to Lon­don for the cham­pi­onships was split across all ath­let­ics dis­ci­plines with a mix of boys and girls.

With great ex­cite­ment the group of mostly 11-15-year-old ath­letes set off on the train from Stock­port to Lon­don. Stay­ing close to St Pauls, they were able to com­bine sight­see­ing with two days at the sta­dium.

As St Pauls was close to where some of the teams were stay­ing it was a good lo­ca­tion to meet ath­letes too and Allyson Felix and other USA ath­letes were soon spot­ted within a short time of ar­rival in Lon­don in an­tic­i­pa­tion of at­tend­ing the sta­dium for the first time.

The Olympic Park was an even bet­ter lo­ca­tion to get in amongst the ath­let­ics stars of the past and present. The Pol­ish win­ner of the men’s ham­mer, Pawel Fa­jdek, met Daisy Keigher, Es­ther Hully, Amy West and Molly Cook. Hur­dles great and BBC pun­dit Colin Jack­son also took time to have a chat, sign au­to­graphs and have pho­tos with the group.

There was even the chance to see Usain Bolt up close in the heats of the 4x100m.

With the group sit­ting ad­ja­cent to the fi­nal change-over, the Stock­port fans were for­tu­nate to see him on a sunny morn­ing run his last com­pet­i­tive fully com­pleted 100m with a vic­tory as he an­chored the Ja­maica team to a heat win. For some of the young­sters this was the high­light of their trip. “See­ing the last race Usain Bolt won was amaz­ing,” said 12-year-old Adam Pen­ning­ton.

Stock­port Harriers group or­gan­iser Mike Kennedy on be­half of his fel­low coaches thought that the trip was a great suc­cess, say­ing: “The ex­pe­ri­ence of the World Cham­pi­onships will I am sure in­spire the ath­letes who at­tended and we hope will en­cour­age their on­go­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sport for years to come.”

Sim­i­larly, David Bar­nett of Track & Field Tours was pleased with this out­come and said: “See­ing the ex­cite­ment amongst the Stock­port Harriers group was very re­ward­ing.

“Track & Field Tours as­sisted sev­eral clubs with young ath­lete groups in se­cur­ing tick­ets for in­di­vid­ual ses­sions dur­ing the event. How­ever, as­sist­ing a club from fur­ther afield for a longer stay to take in the whole event ex­pe­ri­ence was what we wanted to be in­volved with as a legacy of the event for th­ese young­sters.

“That the group saw vin­tage Usain in the mag­nif­i­cent Lon­don Sta­dium in splen­did full flight too was a real bonus too. Thanks are es­pe­cially due to the Lon­don 2017 or­gan­is­ers who were very help­ful in al­low­ing us to of­fer this op­por­tu­nity.”

Young­sters from Stock­port Harriers en­joy the at­mos­phere in the Lon­don Sta­dium

Prize guys: Stock­port

Harriers hit Lon­don

Pawel Fad­jek: world ham­mer gold medal­list meets Stock­port ath­letes

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