Golden year of achievement

PUBLISHED: 14:42 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:34 25 May 2010

NORTH Somerset Athletic Club and Academy head coach Chris Millard has paid tribute to the golden year of achievement by North Somerset Athletes.

NORTH Somerset Athletic Club and Academy head coach Chris Millard has paid tribute to the golden year of achievement by North Somerset Athletes. While the Club and Academy has been in place for five years, this is the first full year North Somerset has competed officially in many events. There are currently in the region of 300 members at the club which is now having a significant impact on athletics across the region.

"Five years ago, apart from the odd exception, athletes from Bristol, Bath and South Gloucester dominated county squads. Over the last couple of years we have seen a steady increase in both the quality and quantity of athletes attending regular training. Athletes that threw themselves into the club have seen rewards beyond anyone's expectations. High standards are always set for the athletes, but they have exceeded all of these.

"While many clubs have access to basics such as athletic tracks, indoor areas, weights rooms and specialist coaches, North Somerset athletes have worked with precious little. The club affiliated to UKA in 2007, is completely self funded, and hires school facilities across the area. What the athletes have shown is a fantastic desire to get the most of their ability, and character.

"We offer varied and fun sessions for the younger and less serious athletes to ensure mass participation. Training for the elite is tough and comprehensive. Programmes are created for any individual who requests it and it is this work ethic that ensures we are beginning to dominate events we attend across the region. We are lucky to have the support of some excellent coaches and committed volunteers with a wealth of experience, and bags of motivational skills."

Last year saw North Somerset athletes involved in plenty of record breaking. Almost every club record was broken during this calendar year, two cross-country and one track and field event just for North Somerset athletes saw record numbers attend. There were visits to an indoor International Grand Prix and a weekend of outdoor pursuits, providing motivation and team building opportunities. Sponsorship has come from The Club at Cadbury House, and they now work closely with the Meningitis Trust to raise funds, and more importantly awareness.

Success has come on the track in the form of the Avon League, winning age groups under 13, 15 and 17 girls and under 13 and 17 boys.

Away from the track currently in the Gloucester cross-country they appear to be achieving similar success. With one meet to go they have already secured success in two of the five categories entered, with a third almost a certainty.

They supplied a large number of athletes in the Avon teams that dominated the South West championships in Sportshall and were the first county in the 20-year history of the event to be victorious in all four secondary school categories, and also won the primary school girls' event.

The inaugural Quadkids event, a brand new initiative from England Athletics, saw North Somerset victorious in an international event at UWIC, as well as seeing their athletes win two of the four athlete of the day awards.

They also have three athletes ranked in the top three in the UK in track and field events, another astounding achievement. Added to this, various national, regional and county champions, victories in the Bristol Street Challenges, including both winners of the sprints, the winner of the boys Boxing Day race, plus second and third girls, and countless medals from across the region, it is going to be tough to top the achievements of 2009.

They firmly believe that they have potential junior Internationals in their ranks. Continuing hard work, and a little luck, should see some North Somerset athletes following in the footsteps of James Thie and Kate Reed within the next few years.

They feel they have raised the bar across the region during the last 12 months, but are aware that Bristol, South Gloucester, Bath and Somerset have made moves to further develop athletics in their area.

During 2010 they intend to develop the club further by increasing the number of coaches, particularly in the more specialist areas and to increase their capacity in the number of officials. Anyone who feels they can offer help with the continuing success story, please contact. They will begin the quest for much sought after facilities in the North Somerset area. This summer it is anticipated that they will be involved in the South West League in addition to the Avon League. They are also hoping to attend a competition abroad, and making steps toward the holy grail of a dedicated athletics facility to support these brilliant athletes.

To find out more about Athetics North Somerset, please visit e-mail sites www.fitnessontrack.co.uk and www.nsaa.me.uk

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