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Junior CoNAC athletes are shining on the national stage

PUBLISHED: 14:34 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:34 02 October 2019

CoNAC athlete Serena Akomah has had an excellent 2019. Picture: Tony Payne

CoNAC athlete Serena Akomah has had an excellent 2019. Picture: Tony Payne

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City of Norwich AC junior athletes are helping put Norfolk athletics on the map.

Jaiden Dean is ranked ninth in the UK for the 60M hurdles. Picture: Tony PayneJaiden Dean is ranked ninth in the UK for the 60M hurdles. Picture: Tony Payne

The club has recently retained its East Anglian League title, ahead of Ipswich Harriers,

CoNAC has also finished strongly in the Southern Athletics League and came fourth in the Eastern Young Athletes League where they have been vying with larger clubs like Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers and Havering AC.

But this team success couldn't have happened without some outstanding individual performances.

Isabelle Mardle has had a phenomenal year, finishing top of the UK rankings for pentathlon, indoor and outdoor hurdles, and fourth in the UK for long jump and high jump. She's broken long standing county and club records for all those events along the way, and picked up County, Eastern and South of England titles too. Her recent pentathlon performance moves her to fourth on the All Time UK rankings - just behind Morgan Lake and Katharine Merry.

Calvin Smith earned his first national title.  Picture: Tony PayneCalvin Smith earned his first national title. Picture: Tony Payne

Her under 13 team mate Serena Akomah has also flown this year - finishing fifth in the UK for 60m and 100m sprints and 11th for 200m, and again winning County and Eastern titles. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Isabelle and Serena were half of an under 13 girls 4x100m relay team that has produced the fastest times we've seen in the county for more than 20 years.

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Under 13 boy La'Sean Sealey (also a promising Norwich City footballer) claimed the UK number one spot for long jump with a county and club record-breaking 5.32m, whilst team mate and strong all-rounder Barney Clarke finished third in the UK in the 75m hurdles - his first season in this event.

Newcomer Ann Kalu certainly made her mark running the fifth fastest time in the UK by an under 15 girl on her way to winning a bronze medal in the English Schools Championships in July.

Isabelle Mardle finished top of the UK pentathlon rankings. Picture: Tony PayneIsabelle Mardle finished top of the UK pentathlon rankings. Picture: Tony Payne

Also medalling at that prestigious event was Calvin Smith, an athlete who has had a season to remember. He started the year well with his first national title - under 15 boys 300m gold in the England Athletics Indoor Championships back in February. He got faster through the season, picking up club and county records along the way and winning silver at English Schools and gold at the South of England Championships. He finishes the year third in the UK.

Under 15 boys team mate Jaiden Dean broke yet more records this year finishing ninth in the UK for 60m hurdles and 10th for 80m hurdles - he has another year to go in the age group!

Meanwhile Conrad Winter has earned his first England vest with an outstanding performance at the English Schools Combined Events competition in Exeter, finishing fourth in the UK for pentathlon. He also finished eighth in the UK for under 15 boys triple jump. He will represent England at the Combined Events International in Glasgow in November.

City of Norwich AC's track and field coordinator, Sarah Thomas, said: "Our athletes, coaches and support team work so hard, it is fantastic to see that effort pay off. Our league successes are all about team work, and our athletes support and challenge each other to better and better results. Success builds on success and we're seeing individual and team performances improve year on year on year."

Under 13 boy LaSean Sealey is the UK number one for long jump. Picture: Tony PayneUnder 13 boy LaSean Sealey is the UK number one for long jump. Picture: Tony Payne

City of Norwich AC is the largest athletics club in the East of England with around 800 members, from eight years old through to seniors and master athletes. It is run entirely by volunteers. Members train and compete in the areas of Track & Field, Road Running, Cross Country and Sportshall Athletics. Find out more at www.conac.org.uk

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