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Six of the best

PUBLISHED: 15:59 04 July 2008 | UPDATED: 20:48 05 July 2010

Mark Boggis

SHINING in a facility that has been graced by some of the best sportsmen and women in the Commonwealth, six aspiring athletes from Ashley School in Lowestoft have thrown down a marker to some of the top academies, schools and athletics club's in England.

SHINING in a facility that has been graced by some of the best sportsmen and women in the Commonwealth, six aspiring athletes from Ashley School in Lowestoft have thrown down a marker to some of the top academies, schools and athletics club's in England.

Talented students Kimberley Aspland, Lewis Pryke, Holly Durbidge, Chelsea Dixon, Declan Manning and Adam Szucs all competed in the 11th National Athletics Championships for Athletes with Learning Difficulties in Manchester on Saturday.

And they left the rest of the competition trailing in their wake as from the 18 events they took part in Ashley collected 11 golds, three silver and one bronze medal with two fourth places as well.

But they weren't finished here, as four championship national records were also shattered on the day

Now, the school in Ashley Downs, boasts five youngsters who between them hold 11 national titles.

And this week, PE teacher Jackie Milton, who accompanied the youngsters and their parents/carers to compete on Saturday at the Sportscity Stadium in Manchester, hailed their successes as “a real credit to the school, Lowestoft and the north Suffolk area” where they are all based.

14-year-old Chelsea Dixon took part in the U17 competition. She excelled in taking three first places from her events, beating a girl from Thailand in the 200m in a personal best time of 29.86; won a new championships record in the long jump with a 3.83m jump and was “outstanding” in beating the senior ladies record time of 12.47.11 in the 3,000m with a stunning time of 12.36.57.

Kimberley Aspland, 13, took part in the U15 category. She won the long jump event and became national champion in the 1,500m when she “smashed” her personal best time of eight minutes to win the title in a time of 6.23.98 - this also beat the U15 record by a minute and ten seconds.

Holly Durbidge, 15, competed in the U17 events. She finished first in the 100m; took a very strong first in the 300m and completed a stunning hat-trick by winning the discus with a personal best throw of 18.6m, which was just 31cm away from breaking the national record.

16-year-old Adam Szucs competed in a very strong U17 field and collected silver medals in the 400m and long jump - with the latter made even greater by securing a personal best jump.

Declan Manning, 14, competed in the U15 category and took a bronze medal in the discus, before winning the 800m in a person al best time of 2.58.50.

Lewis Pryke, 14, competed in the U15 category and “had a very good day,” according to Mrs Milton. He took the silver medal in the 100m, became national champion in the javelin - just missing out on a national record after a foul throw - with a distance of 24.21m and then followed this up by breaking the national record and winning the long jump event with a personal best jump of 4.68m - which was 26cm further than the previous best national distance.

With the field of opponents featuring athletes from Estonia and Croatia, as well as Tipton Harriers and SportsCity Academy, the Ashley School were justifiably proud of achievements.

And the youngsters, who have been training regularly in their specific events as well as doing general fitness training for the last two weeks at home, were particularly praised.

“The fact that these clubs have access to top facilities, running tracks and we train on grass then just think what more these youngsters and others could do?” Mrs Milton said.

“I would like to thank Tim Ash and the City Of Norwich Athletics club for providing the youngsters with spikes for the weekend. “We are extremely pleased with the standards and efforts of the youngsters - we've never had this many national champions and record-holders before!”

Now the youngsters will be aiming for the next stage - to achieve the qualifying standard that will hopefully see them invited to take part in England squad training across the country.

“Five of the youngsters have achieved this national standard already and if they do progress into the team for squad training and Great Britain competitions then hopefully we can attract some sponsorship for them,” Mrs Milton said.

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