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Sportshall League action is finally getting back on track

The Shropshire Young Athletes Sportshall League returned after a two-year break with almost 80 young athletes competing against each other at William Brookes School, Much Wenlock.

Shropshire Young Athletes Sportshall League
Shropshire Young Athletes Sportshall League

The league has traditionally involved four competing clubs hosting one meeting where under 11, 13 and 15 youngsters complete in indoor running and field competitions.

Covid prevented the league from functioning for the last two years, while a change of league organiser also presented several challenges to the events returning.

However, great co-operation between the clubs ensured a successful return to action. Oswestry Olympians head coach Chris Tidridge took on the mantle of co-ordinating the league while Branka Sukara-Fielding of Telford AC agreed to organise the first meeting. Wenlock Olympians provided the appropriate equipment.

Shropshire is fortunate in having several experienced athletics officials who are regularly selected to officiate at national events and they made themselves available ensuring the children benefitted from having a high quality starter, timekeepers and track judges to explain the procedures to them.

The meeting started with running events both on the flat and over hurdles before the hall was transformed for field events. These prepare children for the traditional outdoor track and field season and this meeting included vertical jump, standing long jump, standing triple jump, chest push and speed bounce. Other events such as shot put, soft javelin throw & balance test will feature in future meetings.

There was no doubting the enthusiasm in the hall with tremendous vocal support from parents, coaches and other athletes. This rose to a crescendo during the final events which were the fiercely contested relays.

The outstanding performer on the day was Telford’s Kadisha Nwachukwa, who won all of her events, while Dulcie Roach of Oswestry showed great bravery getting up after a fall to complete the two lap race then later returning to the track to win the five-lap event.

Speaking after the meeting, co-ordinator Tidridge expressed his delight at seeing the event return after two years. He said “The atmosphere in the Sportshall alone made all the effort organising the meeting worthwhile. It was great to see almost 80 athletes participating in a range of events and, above all, enjoying themselves.

“Many have staked claims for selection for the Shropshire County team for the West Midlands Championships to be held on March 19, though we hope to arrange further meetings before teams are finalised.”

Tidridge was keen to thank everyone involved in the organising and on the day and the spirit of co-operation between the clubs which enabled it to take place.

Though the league did not run last year, it was possible to field a county team at the West Midlands Championships where Oswestry Olympians’ Elliot O’Connor was the top under-15 athlete across the West Midlands.

“It would be great to see a Shropshire athlete follow in his footsteps this year”, concluded Tidridge.

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