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Wellesley athletics popular

PUBLISHED: 09:41 15 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:36 03 July 2010

Young athletes at the Wellesley.

Young athletes at the Wellesley.

The sound of cheering children reverberated around Great Yarmouth as youngsters showed why they hoped to follow in the footsteps of Britain's athletic stars, busy preparing for the biggest days of their lives 5,000 miles away at the Beijing Olympics.

The sound of cheering children reverberated around Great Yarmouth as youngsters showed why they hoped to follow in the footsteps of Britain's athletic stars, busy preparing for the biggest days of their lives 5,000 miles away at the Beijing Olympics.

And there were plenty of budding Christine Ohoruogus and Kelly Sothertons on show as the 60 children from the Yarmouth area put their best foot forward in a variety of track and field events at Wellesley Road athletics track.

The group, aged between eight and 15-years-old, participated in the Norwich Union star:track athletics programme over four days, which started last Tuesday.

During the course, the participants covered all aspects of being an Olympian including sprint training, hurdling and distance running such as over 600m.

The event culminated on Friday with a relay, enthusiastically greeted by the youngsters, followed by an awards ceremony where all the children received goodie bags, while some were given caps for endeavour.

Yarmouth Mayor and Mayoress Terry and Jenny Easter presented the awards. He said witnessing the children's passion for sport reminded him of his daughter Gaynor, 32, who competed for the English Schools team in the 100m.

“The point is we want healthy youngsters and this is one of the government initiatives to help them get fit. It teaches them discipline and helps them get fit,” said Mr Easter.

The concept behind the star:track scheme was devised in 1992 to harvest the interest generated by major athletics championships and raise the profile of athletics among children.

The programme can be delivered by athletics clubs, schools and other athletics partners and the aim is to create a fun and exciting format to interest children and introduce athletics to minority groups.

To keep children interested, there are 'follow-on' activities with schools and clubs.

During star:track's first year, 8,000 children participated at 78 venues across the UK, but this figure has since risen to 25,000 youngsters taking part at 500 venues.

The Yarmouth programme involved coaches from the town's athletics club working with representatives from Active Norfolk, which organises sport in the county, and Yarmouth Borough Council.


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