This weekend (Saturday 3 July), Britain’s best young para-athletics talent will be back in action. Activity Alliance’s National Junior Athletics Championships takes place in Coventry, supported by Lions Clubs British Isles and British Athletics.
A firm favourite on the competition calendar for over 40 years, the annual event was one of many to be postponed during the pandemic. This weekend 80 young hopefuls are delighted to be back in the first meet for young disabled athletes since restrictions lifted.
This talent seen on track and field continues year on year and many elite athletes began their own success at the prestigious event, including Hannah Cockroft, Hollie Arnold, Aled Davies and Kare Adenegan. They are among many other recognised athletes to have recently been announced as part of the ParalympicsGB team for the upcoming Games in Tokyo.
World record holder and five-time Paralympic gold medallist, Hannah Cockroft said:
“The National Junior Championships gave me a real taste of proper competition. I knew after that I wanted to experience this more, on an even bigger scale, so it gave me the hunger to train hard and make the senior teams! You’re surrounded by athletes that are a similar age to yourself but who all take the sport as seriously as you do. You’re literally in with the best juniors in Britain. And so many athletes go from the National Junior Championships to future National and international GB teams.”
Triple Paralympic medallist Kare Adenegan, who first competed at the Championships in 2015, winning two gold medals, said:
“I have competed at the Activity Alliance National Junior Athletics Championships four times during my junior athletics career. It was always a key event and an important stepping stone onto the senior international stage. It’s a great event which showcases the best junior para-athletes in the country.”
Two-time Paralympian Sophie Kamlish added:
“Competing at the Junior Athletics Championships early on in my athletics career was one of the first times I got to compete alongside other disabled athletes and really encouraged me to carry on training hard.”
The event is organised by Activity Alliance, the leading voice for disabled people in sport and activity. The national charity is running the event with support from the Lions Clubs British Isles and British Athletics. Fundraising and sponsorship is paramount for the charity’s events programme.
Barry Horne, Chief Executive for Activity Alliance said:
“It is so important that disabled athletes have more opportunities to compete against their peers from across the country and the National Junior Athletics Championships provides just that. When you see the list of recognised para-athletics champions, who once took part in this very event as juniors, you realise how essential competitions like this are. It is the biggest competition of its kind, and we are very proud to be getting our events back up and running again.”
The Lions Clubs British Isles has supported the National and Regional Junior Athletics Championships for more than 30 years. As well as their donations, the Lions Clubs British Isles will be among dedicated volunteers, supporting the event.
Lions Clubs International Liaison Officer for the British Isles, Penny Tregillus, says:
“We are proud to support this event as it provides thousands of young disabled athletes with the opportunity to develop their talent and compete against others from across the country.
“To all athletes this weekend – go out and do your best, but most importantly enjoy yourself.”
Keep up to date with all the action from the Championships this weekend. Join the conversation on social media with the event hashtag #JuniorAthletics21.
Partnerships ensure Activity Alliance can have greater impact on more disabled people’s lives. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities through our events programme, please contact Jannine Walker, National Events Manager – email@example.com or 07725 273158.