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UK Athletics

Fastest kids in the North meet Asafa Powell

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Sixteen budding young athletes seized their unique invitation to meet Commonwealth Games Champion Jamaican Asafa Powell on Wednesday 7 June at Gateshead Stadium, at his press conference in the build up to the Norwich Union British Grand Prix on Sunday 11 June.


The primary school children from schools around Gateshead took part in an afternoon of trials, named “The Fastest kids in the North” in Baltic Square, Gateshead on 23 May. The top eight girls and boys (9-12 years) were clocked with the latest timing equipment and invited to race over 50m at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix, at the same meeting as joint World record holder Asafa Powell.


Jack Gilmore, a member of Gateshead Harriers & AC was the fastest of the boys and is thrilled to be racing at the Grand Prix. His mum, Angela Gilmore (nee Piggford) was Gateshead Harriers’ first female to gain international honours and went on to compete at the Seoul Olympics and won Gold as a member of the women’s 4 x 400m relay team at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.


Angela believes it is a great opportunity to encourage children to stay involved in athletics, she said:


“Jack started attending the junior sessions at Gateshead Harriers before Christmas and has really enjoyed his athletics. He wanted to have a go at the ‘fastest kids in the north’ trial and now he is so excited about competing at the Grand Prix.


“We attended the press conference with Asafa Powell which was a fantastic opportunity for them, they had some good questions about his diet and preparation for races. He promised to watch their race, which really raised their excitement even further!


“Football has such a huge profile in the area, that it is great to see children excited about athletics. We need to keep more children involved in the sport, as so many boys in particular want to specialise in football or rugby at an early age.”


Carl Elebrook, a teacher at Fellside Community Primary School took a group of children along to the Baltic Square on 23 May and was delighted that seven of them finished in the top sixteen overall. He said:


“The competition did wonders for the children’s self esteem, especially the girls who don’t often get the same success as boys do in sport at the school.


“The children are really excited about racing at the Grand Prix with the television and the big crowd, it’s certainly a talking point in the school.”


The “Fastest kids in the North” line up at Gateshead stadium in the Norwich Union British Grand Prix at 1.00pm on Sunday 11 June.


Tickets for the Norwich Union British Grand Prix at Gateshead are still available on 0870 402 8000