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Athletes compete in British Championships and Olympic trials

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Three athletes and an official from West Norfolk Athletics Club took part in The British Athletics Championships and Olympic trials at Sportcity in Manchester last weekend.For those eligible athletes, it was the last opportunity to put themselves in the frame for selection to Paris in August. Competition was fierce, but not helped by the challenging conditions which were changeable at best.The weekend began wet and on the cooler side considering the time of year. This is never perfect when digging deep for that top performance. However, this did not stop the action coming thick and fast.Only the UK’s very best athletes are invited to compete at the British championships. Athletes must either have achieved a qualifying standard or be highly ranked for their chosen disciplines nationally.West Norfolk AC and City of Sheffield and Dearne athlete James Greenhalgh was invited to race in his chosen event, the 400m hurdles.This was Greenhalgh’s fourth consecutive time of being invited to compete at the championships in this event and each season he has been ranked within the top 30 nationally in a highly competitive field.Greenhalgh was given a tough third heat draw, racing against the heat winner, and eventual overall champion, Alistair Chalmers. The defending UK champion Chalmers won the heat in 50.65sec with Greenhalgh storming home in a very respectable fifth place in a time of 54.42sec.Sisters Kate and Meg Willis, City of Norwich and Birmingham University athletes, are frequently training at West Norfolk AC in Lynn when they are not away at University, and they were also invited to compete. Meg ran a fantastic personal best in the 400m hurdles finishing heat one in fifth place in a time of 60.98sec. Kate ran a season-best in heat one of the 1500m, racing against regular international medallist and UK number one Laura Muir. Kate finished in a hard-fought ninth place in 4m26.31sec. A special mention should go out to one of West Norfolk AC’s unsung heroes. He was not competing but instead was one of the large team of officials making sure the athletes were able to put in some of those hard-fought performances over the weekend.Paul Bailey is a senior level four field official and works tirelessly for the West Norfolk club. He is often organising behind the scenes for the club, acting as field referee or officiating.Occasionally he does get to officiate at some high-level athletics events such as the UK championships. Bailey was even part of the officiating team at the 2012 Olympics held in London.Last weekend he was part of the Jumps officials team officiating the Long and Triple Jumps. A West Norfolk Athletics Club spokesman said: “The club is super proud of Paul and needs more officials like him. We would welcome and support anyone interested in being an official or volunteer. Well done Paul.”



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