Special Olympics Norfolk to make first appearance at county championships in Norwich

Special Olympic Norfolk athletes, from left, Jamie Wells, John Oldman, Ricky Brown and Owen Crosswel

Special Olympic Norfolk athletes, from left, Jamie Wells, John Oldman, Ricky Brown and Owen Crosswell celebrating success at a regional event. Picture: Kay Bailey - Credit: Archant

Norfolk's annual track and field championships are being opened up to athletes with learning disabilities for the first time this weekend.

Athletics Norfolk, which stages the two-day event at the UEA Sportspark, has invited Special Olympics Norfolk (SON) to showcase its athletes' talents on Sunday alongside events for some of the county's top track and field competitors. In total, more than 300 local sports men and women will be in action.

SON is fielding 30 athletes – including seven invitees from Suffolk – in races over 50, 100, 200 and 400 metres and long jump and throwing events (softball, mini javelin and shot-put).

Some will be going on to represent the eastern region at the Special Olympics National Games at Sheffield in August. Others are taking part in organised competition for the first time.

Clive Poyner, chair of Athletics Norfolk, said: 'This will be a great opportunity for the Special Olympics athletes and helpers to experience and compete in a large scale event as a precursor to their National Games.

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'We are expecting two great days of County Championship athletics with a record number of competitors. We wish all our athletes the best of luck and hope they achieve many personal bests.'

Nicola Fish, chair of SON, said: 'We're delighted to be given the opportunity to take part in this prestigious event. Our participation highlights the positive steps being taken to offer athletics training to anyone with a learning disability countywide.

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'Six of our athletes already train alongside non-disabled athletes in mainstream clubs – West Norfolk, Great Yarmouth and City of Norwich – as part of their inclusivity offer. We hope to hold our first SON regional event in 2018 with Athletics Norfolk support.'

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