by Martin J Draper, CEO, LDC
Following Team GB’s unprecedented success at the Rio Olympic Games last year, the feel good factor around UK Athletics has continued to gather pace here at LDC through our long-term sponsorship of the Birchfield Harriers ‘Junior Development’ programme based at Alexander Stadium.
Now in its sixth year, we’ve increased our funding for 2017 to support a total of 25 budding young athletes as they look to become the next big stars of track and field.
This year, we’ve also introduced an educational aspect to the initiative, to assist even more athletes and further aid their development. Working alongside specialists from Birmingham University, this will include Strength and Conditioning programmes as well as Nutrition and Psychology workshops.
A number of the youngsters we support are now on their second or third year of the programme, with notable successes including Dan Cartwright, who won the both the Indoor England Championships and the English Schools Championship in the shot in 2016, and Kaie Chambers-Brown who won the English Schools’ 100m and was second at the England Championships in the same event.
Other significant success stories include the current England Athletics and English Schools champion Emma Hamplett, who now holds the UK’s number one ranking for javelin after scooping almost every award possible in her field last year!
2017 has already started in fantastic style with major success at the Indoor Championships in February - both Dan Cartwright (shot) and Abbazz Shayam-Smith (triple jump) took home gold medals.
Looking forward, many of our young athletes have their sights set on the European Junior Championships taking place in Italy in July, and of course everyone at LDC wishes them all the very best of luck as they prepare for what is sure to be an exceptional competition and another great year for Birchfield Harriers and GB athletics.