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Young Athletes Go For Gold In Blackpool

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Over 400 young athletes will compete at Stanley Park Stadium in Blackpool this weekend, in the biggest national junior disability athletics event in the country. This year’s event comes with thanks to the support from Nationwide Building Society, Lions Club International and Blackpool Council. It will be the best chance to see young stars with amazing potential to become future Paralympians.


The Nationwide National Junior Athletics Championships provides 12-20 year olds with a chance to compete amongst their peers in a full track and field programme. Spectators will have the opportunity to watch up and coming stars such as Welsh field athlete Nathan Stephens and track star Esther Stanger from Yorkshire. Young hopefuls to look out for are Hollie Arnold from Yorkshire and Mary Suggett from the North East. Paralympic athletes, such as Blackpool local girl Shelly Woods and the great Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson have come through the DSE junior programme. With Beijing 2008 and London 2012 beckoning, all eyes will be on Stanley Park this weekend to spot possible competitors.


Looking forward to the action packed weekend ahead, Gordon Neale OBE Director of Events for DSE commented:

“This junior event is the highest participated and certainly the liveliest one in our entire programme. It is a treat to watch so many up and coming young stars coming through the DSE athletics programme. The support it gets is a tribute to all the talent taking part.”


In November 2005 Nationwide Building Society announced that it was to become the main sponsor of Disability Sport Events in a deal worth £1 million until 2012.  This deal will help DSE to increase participation from regional to international level in both swimming and athletics.  It will also help with talent identification and team selection in the run-up to the Paralympics over the seven years. This event comes two weeks before the Society’s AGM on 19th July, where every vote is worth 10p with the target to get 1 million votes- totalling a possible additional £100,000 donation to DSE.


Commenting on the partnership Charles Reed, Divisional Director of Nationwide Building Society, said: “Nationwide Building Society is delighted to be associated with DSE and to support the work it does. Our partnership has been a great example of how organisations can make a difference and we are very pleased to be able to expand on our support through the additional money raised by members voting in our AGM. Our aim is to help DSE encourage more disabled people to participate in sport.  This means giving support where the champions start their road to success - at grass roots level.  We hope that our sponsorship will be the starting block for all those young people in disability sport who dream of success.”


Spectators can attend free of charge at the Stanley Park Stadium. The media are also welcome to attend. Please register any cameras at the registration desk first. Saturday 10am-5pm

Sunday 10am-1pm

Interviews are available with prior request.

For more information please call 0161 953 2499 or 07764 291671.


Note: This event is a key opportunity for athletes to impress for selection for the UK School Games at Coventry on 25th/26th August.