It’s a debut to remember as Special Olympics athletes make their mark
- Credit: Archant
Athletes with learning disabilities celebrated medal success and personal best performances competing for the first time at the Athletics Norfolk's county championships at the weekend.
Twenty-five athletes – including eight invitees from Suffolk – competed in 18 Special Olympic style events, including races over 50, 100, 200 and 400 metres and long jump and throwing events (softball, javelin and shot put).
Special Olympics Norfolk (SON), which provides support for about 70 sportspeople with learning difficulties, was invited to showcase its members' talents in the track and field championships at the UEA Sportspark alongside events for some of the county's top athletes.
Special Olympics competitors setting personal best performances included Cameron Lain (turbo javelin), Jordan Rednall (softball), and Ricky Brown (junior long jump).
The men's long jump saw all three medal winners jump further than four metres – Joe Silom 4.67m (new PB), Cameron Ross 4.35m and Oli Minns 4.25m.
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Lily Edwards threw the shot 4.02m for junior girls' gold and Lorraine Hood threw the softball 11.56m for the women's gold.
Division One of the men's sprint saw the medals split by a mere half a second, Joe Silom winning gold in 13.5, Cameron Ross silver in 13.9s and John Young, competing for the first time, taking bronze in 14.0.
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The men's 200m race was equally competitive with Oli Minns winning gold with a time of 27.5s. He went on to take gold in the 400m in a time of 61.7s to finish the day in style.
Nicola Fish, chair of SON, said: 'It was wonderful to be able to showcase our athletes' talents to such a big audience and the support the spectators gave them was fantastic.
'It was a first for us to be involved in a major mainstream athletics event and we hope other sports will offer more inclusive competition in the future.'
SON is sending a team to the Special Olympics national games at Sheffield in August and plans to organise a regional event in 2018 with Athletics Norfolk support.
Special Olympics Norfolk is a county branch of Special Olympics Great Britain – go to www.specialolympicsnorfolk.com for information.