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UK Athletics

SPAR Sprinters Inspired

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The Under 17 Regional SPAR Sprints squad based at Gateshead International stadium, now known worldwide as the track where Asafa Powell equalled the 100m world record were invited to the latest PAC training workshop with three times Olympic medallist Steve Backley on Monday 3 July.


Backley, who retired from an illustrious career in 2004, provided sixty of the region’s best sprinters and their coaches with an overview of the principles of PAC training and drills which can benefit the performance of any track and field athlete.


In addition to members of the North East SPAR Sprints squad, Richard Hunter, Regional Manager for England Athletics extended the invitation to the Northumberland, Durham and Cleveland schools relay teams selected to compete this weekend at the English Schools Track & Field Championships being hosted by Gateshead.


Following Steve Backley’s presentation to the group which received excellent feedback from athletes and coaches alike, the athletes enjoyed a practical relay practice with GB sprinter Susan Deacon and Durham’s Peter Wileman.


Senior Co-ordinator for Sprints and Hurdles at UK Athletics, Derek Redmond attended the workshop, he said afterwards:


“It was an excellent turnout, the athletes really soaked up Steve’s presentation and I had great feedback from the coaches that came along.


“The SPAR Sprints squad in Gateshead is well established, which is starting to be reflected in their performances. Richard Kilty (Gateshead Harriers) is a great example of the talent coming through, currently ranked number 3 in the UK over 100m for his age group, he was recently named as one of thirty SPAR Stars from across the UK.”


Richard Hunter added:


“The athletes and coaches really appreciated the opportunity to listen to such a successful Olympic athlete like Steve Backley and find out what it took for him to reach the pinnacle of his sport. The session was very worthwhile and provided a real inspiration to many athletes preparing for the English Schools this weekend.”