Street Athletics winners get a taste of the top
Manchester McCain Athletics Network part-funded the project to take coaching into the schools to build entries into last year's Street Athletics. Street Athletics breaks down the significant barriers which prevent youngsters from believing in their own talents and realise ambition.
The England Athletics 'community activators' resource', developed in partnership with national partner StreetGames contains easy to use introductory activities and short form competition models included within the resource which help to stimulate greater participation in athletics and unearth the next generation of athletics champions from a broader range of communities.
Following over 185 Manchester entries taking part in the community heats, a strong 10 Manchester Athletes reached the Grand Final and Manchester Athletes achieved some outstanding results. J’Nae Ward, Olivia Callaghan, Callum Roughneen and Charles Burke all had success in Street Athletics 60m Sprints events last year and last weekend were finally rewarded with their prize; a trip to watch world class athletics at the AVIVA Birmingham Grand Prix Diamond League at the Alexander Stadium.
Athletes were treated as such and sat down to dinner with Linford Christie, Iwan Thomas, Mark Lewis Francis and Catherine Merry on Saturday evening and took the opportunity to ask questions about elite performance and experiences.
The next morning athletes were up bright and early for a sprints master class with 200m Olympic Silver Medallist Darren Campbell. Having a real taste of what’s it like to get to the top the athletes were worked hard and took away some great ideas for training to be a quality sprinter. With great organisation and professionalism, Manchester Athletes also had the opportunity to speak personally with Darren, ask advice and tips for their own training and competition preparation.
The team then moved onto the Alexander Stadium for a tour of the BBC studio set up and High Performance Centre where they were guided around the Athlete Warm Up area. Entering the stadium, athletes and the support team took to their seats in the new, state of the art 5,000-seater back straight grandstand. Built to host the USA track and field team in preparation for London 2012 the seats gave a fantastic view of the whole event.
Even in the slippery conditions, all athletes demonstrated world class performances for the Manchester athletes to aspire to. They witnessed local athlete Holly Bleasdale vault into second place, Dai Greene continue his diamond league success in the 400m Hurdles, Jenny Meadows push to win gold in the 800m and Mo Farah impressed with a time of 54.03 on the last lap of the men’s 5,000m. Phillips Idowu hopped into first place with a smooth triple jump of 17.54m. The atmosphere hit an all time high as Idowu was jumping, Helen Clitheroe running and Thorkildsen at the Javelin setting a world leading throw this season. Athletes were cheering loudly and supporting the success of all athletes, special notes go to Mark Burke for his stadium-starting rhythm and maintaining the noise in the high spirited stand. Fireworks blazing, to top of the evening Asafa Powell sprinted sub-10s in anxious starting and wet weather conditions.
Athlete feedback has been extremely positive with Charles Burke reaffirming the messages of Street Athletics “Me and my Dad had a great time, it was great to meet Darren Campbell and the session’s given me some good ideas to work on and ambition to go further in athletics. It was great that I got to see Asafa Powell race, even in those conditions he’s awesome!” J’Nae Ward added, “I really enjoyed it, everything was great, the hotel, the people, the whole experience. I just want to work hard so I can go again next year!”
Huge thanks go out to the Street Athletics Team and Nuff Respect for coordinating and inspiring Manchester Athletes with this fantastic winner’s event. The Manchester Team now aims to inspire more athletes by having many more reach the finals and come out successful.
Well done again and thanks to all the athletes for proudly representing Manchester in Street Athletics and showing professionalism and maturity over the whole weekend. Thanks also to all parents and guardians for adding value to the trip and supporting the athletes in their continued development.
The England Athletics Activators' Resource is primarily targetted at community projects across England where access to traditional athletic provision may be restricted for a number of reasons. This similar community project was part-funded by Manchester McCain Athletics Network to take coaching into the schools to build entries into 2010 Street Athletics.
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