25.Sep.12 British bronzes at European Deaf Athletics Junior Championships
Deaf UK Athletics ensured that Great Britain was represented at the 1st European Deaf Athletics Junior Championships held in Bydgoszcz, Poland 21-22 September 2012. Jonathan Wilkinson (1,500m and 3,000m) and Iain Botting (Shot Put, Discus and Javelin) were selected and made their international debut at these inaugural championships. Over 100 athletes from all over Europe took part.
Fresh from equalling the four year old World 1 Mile Junior Record, Jonny was determined to show his class. “I felt very nervous as these are my first international competitions and I have no idea what to expect from the other countries’ athletes so I will have to be tactful. Team manager Brian advised me to run my race and just focus on what I have to do. I listened to his advice and am really excited to have won the Bronze 1,500m medal. I am looking forward to the 3,000m final and will give it my all.” an excited Jonny said.
Outside the main track arena, Iain Botting was competing in the Shot Put. “I am very disappointed that my favourite event; the Hammer was excluded from the competitions, however, the opportunity to compete at the European Junior championships do not come often, so I am delighted that Brian picked me to do the Shot, Discus and Javelin." stated Iain Botting. Iain's participation in the Shot Put, Discus and Javelin was tough. He was competing against athletes at their specialist events. However, he did his best, sadly missing out on a Discus medal with a 4th place finish in the final.
Whilst Iain was competing in the Discus, Jonny was putting in an amazing performance in the 3,000m Final. Right from the start of the race, the Swedish athlete Otto Kingstedt sprinted from the start like it was a 400m race! Jonny did not panic; he remained steady in fourth position behind Adrian Marcinkiewicz of Poland as Russian Nikita Asoyan chased Otto. This made the pace very fast until 2 laps to go when Otto started to tire and Nikita capitalised on this to overtake Otto. Adrian followed Nikita, to push Otto to 3rd position. Jonny realizing that Otto was out of gas, put his foot down and overtook Otto as well for Bronze medal position. With 300m to finish, Jonny did a Mo Farah style sprint to try for Gold, but unfortunately tired and had to settle for the Bronze medal, still his time of 9:16.03 was a massive 10sec improvement on his 3,000m personal best time. “Jonny ran a very wise race. It was good that he conserved energy during the initial part of the race when Otto started very fast. I am very proud of his achievements.” a delighted Jonny’s dad Rod Wilkinson who was nervously watching the race said.
Also part of the team as a Coach was Iain’s granddad Michael Horswell who was giving Iain all the encouragement to perform to the best of his abilities from the stands. Michael said: “Iain’s best event is the Hammer, but taking part in these competitions will do him the world of good. He will go home, reflect back and work harder. We are all proud of him.”
Deaf UK Athletics Director and GB Team Manager Brian Kokoruwe added: “The team has worked very well together. The competitions have been great. This was made possible through the support of Rod, Michael and the athletes’ excellent behavior, commitment and determination to do their best. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who represented GBR in Poland. To be part of the inaugural championships has made me very proud of the team. Well done to everyone, coaches, parents and friends.”
Deaf UK Athletics (DUKA) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing training, competitions and information relating to track and field, cross country, walking and road running athletics for those deaf people interested in this exciting sport in the UK. Visit: www.deafukathletics.org.uk
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