7th February 2014

Club:connect Hits Sheffield

7 February 2014

Athletes from five of the country’s biggest athletics clubs gathered at Sheffield’s EIS ahead of the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships. Daniel Awde (coach: Chris Zah), Katie Byres (Kate Dennison), JJ Jegede (Peter Stanley), Confidence Lawson (Clarence Callender) and Beth Partridge (Aston Moore) took part in a photo shoot to promote British Athletics’ Club:Connect campaign.

For the first time, athletes will be able to win points for their clubs, with a £500 grant being awarded to both the male and female clubs who collect the most points. Ten points will be awarded to the club of the British champion in each of the weekend’s events, and the points will be shared in the event of a tie.

High jumper Beth Partridge of Birchfield Harriers, the club with most representatives at last year’s British Championships, believes that Club:Connect is a good way of recognising and rewarding the work of clubs.

She said: “We have so many young athletes and so many at the top end too. We have a big range of athletes who can all inspire each other – I think that’s the best bit. I think we’ll be the best; I can think of people in almost every event! I think the money could go into so many different avenues at Birchfield, be it coaching, developing athletes through the age groups or just giving the athletes support to travel to competitions.”

2012 Olympian Daniel Awde, best known as a decathlete but running over 400m for Woodford Green with Essex Ladies this weekend, agreed that to win the grant would mean a lot to his club.

When asked what the best thing about his club was, Awde said: “The fact that it’s been around for so long and it’s got such a history and a heritage. I think it’s got its own trademark being Woodford Green with Essex Ladies and I think a lot of people know about the club or have heard about the club. To win the grant would mean a huge amount.”

JJ Jegede, who took long jump victory at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow International Match last month, said: “It’s always good to promote the clubs because they do a lot of hard work. I first went to my club when I was seven so my club is a big inspiration to me and it’s good to go back to the clubs and give them a taster of a big championships and it should excite them to keep in the sport.”

Confidence Lawson of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, who will compete over 60m tomorrow, said: “Obviously the better the club does, the more it inspires more athletes to come to Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers and join. I’m sure my team manager would be pleased if we came out on top and it’s a motivation for me and my teammates.”

Pole Vaulter Katie Byres, who compete for Sale Harriers, added: “Sale Harriers have helped me so much, so any money they can raise to help other athletes is great for the club and the people representing them.”

Live streaming of the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships and Adam Gemili’s post-race interviews will be available via www.youtube.com/britishathleticsTV, from 15:30-19:00 on Saturday 8 February and 12:00-16:30 on Sunday 9 February.

Join in the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships conversation by tweeting @BritAthletics using the hashtag #IndoorChamps