Delight for CoNAC as Iona Lake earns a place in Team GB’s Games squad

Iona Lake has hailed the impact the Norfolk Sports Academy has had on her progression. Picture: PA

Iona Lake has hailed the impact the Norfolk Sports Academy has had on her progression. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Norfolk track star Iona Lake has been selected in Team England's 75-strong team athletics squad for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The City of Norwich AC athlete will compete in the 3,000m steeplechase. Dereham high jumper Chris Baker is also in the squad.

'We're delighted,' said Pauline Ash, who, with husband Tim, coaches Lake. 'She has worked very hard this last season and got a Commonwealth Games qualifying time, but we were still keeping our fingers crossed because they can only take 75 athletes and if they had more than 75 qualifiers you never know what might happen.'

Lake won the 3,000m women's steeplechase at the World Championship Team Trials – which doubled up as the British championships – at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham in July.

'It is very well deserved by Iona because she has improved this season,' added her coach. 'She is 24 and we hope that over the next few years she can move on to the European Championships and, ultimately, the Olympics. We hope that is the case because we believe she is very talented.'

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The Ash husband and wife team first worked with Lake around 10 years ago.

'She is one of those who have steadily improved over the years,' said Pauline. 'Now she is heading towards her peak at the right age. It was hard to tell when she was 14 what would, happen – you never know, especially with girls, how they will grow, but we always thought she would get to the level she is now at.'

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Sarah Thomas, CoNAC's track & field co-ordinator, said: 'We are absolutely delighted that Iona has made the England team for the Gold Coast. It is a fantastic reward for all the hard work she has put in over the last few months in particular to achieve the qualifying time. It's also a fitting tribute to the countless hours of guidance and support she has received from her coaches Pauline and Tim Ash who have helped ensure her place on the plane. Now we all look forward to seeing Iona pulling on her England vest in Australia and giving her all on a global stage. Iona is an inspiration to everyone at City of Norwich AC and we all wish her the very best of luck with her preparations over the coming months.'

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