England Athletics chair Gary Shaughnessy and board member Clive Poyner joined the action at the East Region Sportshall Championships for U13’s and U15’s and Fun in Athletics Competition for the U11’s last weekend.
The event was a great showcase for celebrating the positive benefits to young people of competition within a vibrant, inclusive, and welcoming environment whilst harnessing the power of athletics in its purest form - that of run, jump, and throw.
The competition saw hundreds of children aged from under-11 through to under-15 taking part in skill-based indoor track and field events whilst representing their county, with age-group winners qualifying for the national finals in Stoke on April 1.
Cheered on by their travelling supporters and team managers, the youngsters had the added benefit of support from a team of qualified officials who were on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly.
Clive Poyner, who as well as being an elected director on the England Athletics Board, is also chair of Athletics Norfolk and helped to facilitate the volunteers on the day. He said:
“For full on noise, excitement, and intensity there is nothing like a Sportshall regional final, it has to be my favourite event of the year. It is a pulsating afternoon full of indoor track and field competition for U11s, U13s and U15s, that is overseen by the enthusiasm and professionalism of Adam Burgess from National Sportshall. I never fail to come away from the event without great memories of the efforts and mutual support from the athletes, the endeavors to keep it all under control by the team managers and respect for the officials who struggle to hear in all the noise. If you have never been to a Sportshall regional final please add it to your bucket list, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.”
Gary Shaughnessy said:
“It was fantastic to be able to witness first-hand the vibrant and action-packed experience provided to the young athletes by the Sportshall team and volunteers of the East region. There was a real buzz around the event and a timely reminder of the important role that our sport can and does play in contributing to the positive physical and mental wellbeing of young people across England. Athletics is an accessible and inclusive sport enjoyed by many people of different backgrounds and abilities and this was in full display at this county competition.”
Chris Jones, CEO of England Athletics, was pleased to announce last year that England Athletics would be developing a renewed strategic partnership agreement with Sportshall Associates. He said:
“Sportshall athletics has a long and proud history in our sport and it is fantastic to know that the run, jump, throw team based competition format continues to go from strength to strength at a county and club level across England with a particular focus on our youngest track and field athletes. Sportshall ensures that clubs and schools can provide modified track and field activities 365 days a year and keeps our sport in the psyche of audiences outside of the traditional spring and summer season. Sportshall athletics competition is also a springboard for other sporting pursuits and can support the development of good physical literacy when delivered alongside skill-based programmes such as funetics. We would actively encourage more clubs and Counties to join the many across England that are already part of the Sportshall family. It is another great opportunity to deploy young leaders as helpers and officials at competitions alongside parents, teachers, and carers.”
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