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ATHLETICS: An awesome foursome

PUBLISHED: 12:38 07 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:18 06 July 2010

FOUR talented teenagers from Lowestoft impressed as part of the six-strong UK Sports Association's Great Britain team that competed against 18 other countries at the senior world championships in Sweden last month.

FOUR talented teenagers from Lowestoft impressed as part of the six-strong UK Sports Association's Great Britain team that competed against 18 other countries at the senior world championships in Sweden last month.

Aspiring Paralympic athletes from the Ashley School - Lewis Pryke, Chelsea Dixon, Kimberley Aspland and Holly Durbidge - were joined by their teacher and coach Jackie Milton for the championships.

“It was a very professional tournament, with an opening ceremony and when the athletes were called out for the events 15 minutes before they competed they could not contact you while out on the track - which was something altogether new for the youngsters,” Mrs Milton said.

Treated like any other international event, whenever an athletes name was called out - for example Holly Durbidge competing for Great Britain - the cameras would then pan in on the athlete, who would then be showcased on a large screen in the indoor arena.

“It was a steep learning curve for all of them, but they all did remarkably well to collect some very good PB's,” Mrs Milton said.

“Their achievements were all very creditable as they were up against older more mature athletes, as this was a senior event and they are all still juniors, and yet they integrated superbly into their surroundings with all the other competitors.”

And their efforts were even more remarkable given that this was the first time that three of them had actually flown before!

Competing for the first time in the pentathlon - which consisted of five events - Lewis has only previously competed in the long jump, so he recorded personal bests in the high jump, shot putt - which would've placed him in the top four as a single entry - 1000m and 60m hurdles.

Holly Durbidge recorded personal bests in the 60m and 200m, while Chelsea Dixon suffered an injury and unfortunately had to pull out of the 800m and 1500m, although she bravely battled through and came ninth in the long jump - just missing out on qualification for the final by 4cm.

Young Kimberley however shone with a fifth place finish in 1500m and then followed it up with a “fantastic” fourth place in the 800m.

“She should now get a world ranking, and both the head GB coach and the England endurance coach said she should definitely be medalling in the future - as she is one to watch!” Mrs Milton said.

The GB men's team came tenth overall, while the girls - consisting of the three Lowestoft teens - finished a superb fourth overall.

Now back home, its back to training and local competitions for the Ashley squad as they hopefully prepare for the European outdoor Championships in Croatia in July.

This weekend the youngsters will be competing against mainstream athletes in the Norfolk AAA Championships, with the eastern region disability event in Chelmsford in forthcoming weeks.

Meanwhile, Adam Szucs and Declan Manning are “working very hard” to achieve their qualification for the national GB team,

“There are lots of exciting things ahead, and training doesn't stop for the youngsters….in fact the ball carries on rolling as it gathers more pace,” Mrs Milton said. Our thanks go to all the many people who have supported us financially and backed the youngsters progress, they have done the town proud and this was a tremendous event - one they will never forget.”

For more on the team's nightmare volcanic ordeal, see Journal News, page 3.

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