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Lowestoft athletes set sights on world

PUBLISHED: 13:24 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:31 06 July 2010

A SPECIAL honour was bestowed on teenagers from a Lowestoft school this week as they set their sights on the 2012 Paralympics in London.

Four athletes from The Ashley School received a £1,500 Suffolk County Council SportsAid scholarship from council leader Jeremy Pembroke on Monday.

A SPECIAL honour was bestowed on teenagers from a Lowestoft school this week as they set their sights on the 2012 Paralympics in London.

Four athletes from The Ashley School received a £1,500 Suffolk County Council SportsAid scholarship from council leader Jeremy Pembroke on Monday.

It will help them to fund a trip to Sweden in April, where they will compete for Great Britain in the World Indoor Athletics Champion-ships for athletes with a learning disability.

Chelsea Dixon, 16, Holly Durbidge, 16, Kimberley Aspland, 15, and Lewis Pryke, 16, have been picked as part of a squad of six who will compete against 17 other countries.

Lewis will compete in the 60m hurdles and pentathlon; Chelsea will contest the long jump, 800 and 1500m; Holly will run in the 60m and the 200m; and Kimberley will take part in the 800m and 1500m events.

The money will go towards the cost of this trip and one to the European Track and Field Championships in Croatia in July, for which they have also been selected. All are working towards potential selection for the 2012 Paralympics, and Lewis said: “I want to make sure I come back with a medal from Sweden.”

Over the past two years The Ashley School has had six athletes in the England team for athletes with a learning disability. They are all national champions and between them hold 11 national records.

Adam Szucs and Declan Manning joined the other four athletes in representing England at the French Open Championships in Paris last May. They won 12 golds, two silvers and a bronze.

“The athletes train very hard and travel a 64-mile round trip at least once a week to the City Of Norwich Athletics Club to train on the track,” said Adam Baker, Suffolk project manager for the 2012 Games.

Jackie Milton, teacher in charge of physical education and the athletes' coach, said the scholarship funding was a huge boost, adding: “The financial help they will receive is not only a real investment by Suffolk in their athletic development but also fantastic recognition of their hard work and dedication.”

She praised the support of Waterlane Leisure Centre and Spirit Gym, the Tri Masters swimming group, the youngsters' parents, City Of Norwich AC and sponsors, including Kingsley Healthcare.

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