Julia achieves top discus title
DESPITE atrocious weather conditions, a Sidmouth College pupil claimed the English School s title for discus in her age group.
DESPITE atrocious weather conditions, a Sidmouth College pupil claimed the English School's title for discus in her age group.
Julia Walkden, who was competing in the intermediate under-17 competition, threw her discus 37.5 metres to claim the title.
She was one of two competitors from the college to be at the event, with Byron Fitzgerald running in the 400m hurdles.
Julia competed against nine other girls of her age and they all had to contend with standing water in the throwing circle and muddy conditions elsewhere.
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As a result of the win, she will be competing at the Schools Home Countries International at Bedford this weekend.
Eileen Mander, PE teacher at Sidmouth College, said: "Julia did really well to hold her form in the atrocious conditions.
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"She has done exceedingly well. She is a committed athlete, who works hard, has a pleasant attitude and deserves her success.
"To compete at the event, she had to achieve a high standard, and in her case she reached a national standard. Although there is still a long way to go, she must be considered as an Olympic hopeful because anyone who wins an event is the future talent of the country.
"Most of the English members of the British team going to Beijing will have been in those championships in their time."
Such is the interest in the championships that Sky broadcast them live from Gateshead last Saturday, although Julia's event did not appear on the programme.
Byron competed in the 400m hurdles but he went mainly for the experience.
Mrs Mander said: "Byron ran to his form and did not get beyond his heat but he achieved a similar time to normal.
"He went for the experience and achieved as much as we expected."
She said she was pleased that the pair had done as well as they had.
She said: "It is very good for the college.
"Julia is the second winner we have had at the event, after Mandy Liverton won the javelin competition some years ago.
"Only 35 athletes go up from Devon and we have never had two go before.
"To get there is a fine achievement and they are both committed athletes."
The international at Bedford takes place on Saturday, July 19, and will see competitors from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland taking part.