Athletics Weekly - - PREVIEWS -

YOUNG ath­letes from across Bri­tain com­pete in the Sportshall Ath­let­ics UK Fi­nals at Manch­ester’s Re­gional In­door Ath­let­ics Arena this week­end.

The most promis­ing young ath­letes will bat­tle it out to be crowned UK cham­pi­ons at the flag­ship ath­let­ics devel­op­ment event of the year.

Dina Asher-Smith and Kata­rina John­son-Thomp­son are among those who com­peted in sportshall dur­ing their early years and many oth­ers ex­pe­ri­enced their first taste of ath­let­ics through sportshall com­pe­ti­tion.

Mor­gan Lake won the un­der-15’s sportshall all-rounder com­pe­ti­tion in 2011 and so this event pro­vides a chance to see the stars of the fu­ture.

There have been some strong con­tenders for the un­der-15 all­rounder ti­tles com­pet­ing dur­ing the sea­son.

In the girls’ com­pe­ti­tion Molly Palmer is a strong con­tender hav­ing scored the max­i­mum 150 points in the East Mid­lands re­gional fi­nal where she jumped 2.52m in the stand­ing long jump and also won the two-lap race and the speed bounce.

Some other ex­cel­lent per­for­mances have been seen from Ruby Bridger (Es­sex), Olivia Roe (North York­shire) and Estelle Hodges (Devon). In the boys com­pe­ti­tion, Cam­bridgeshire will be rep­re­sented by Isaac Pfaen­der, who threw over 14 me­tres in the East re­gional fi­nal on the way to win­ning the all-rounder ti­tle.

In the team com­pe­ti­tions it will be ex­cit­ing to see if Done­gal can con­tinue the suc­cess of win­ning the un­der-15 boys’ com­pe­ti­tion for the past two suc­ces­sive years.

In the un­der-13 boys’ com­pe­ti­tions many of the best per­for­mances have come from the North West and it is great to see an emerg­ing Mersey­side rep­re­sented again this year.

Nor­folk, Birm­ing­ham and Sur­rey should be strong con­tenders in the un­der-13 girls’ com­pe­ti­tion with

Kent and Nor­folk look­ing par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive in the un­der-15 girls’ team events.

Sportshall as a pro­gramme was cre­ated over 40 years ago by ath­let­ics vi­sion­ary Ge­orge Bun­ner and it now sees more than one mil­lion chil­dren each year tak­ing part through club and school games pro­grammes in the UK and around the world.

The event is sup­ported by Eveque Leisure Equip­ment, East­lands Trust and the Am­a­teur Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion.

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