Young athletes at Upton Junior School, Broadstairs, are stepping up training for a major biathlon tournament.
Ten competitors have won through to the national finals for primary and secondary schools that will be held at the Abbey Stadium Sports Centre in Redditch near Birmingham over the weekend of March 11 and 12 – boys’ events on the Saturday and girls’ heats on the Sunday.
Upton entered 25 of its young competitors from Year 3 to Year 6 when it held the regional qualifying heats at its sports field and pool for children from around the south east and London in December.
To help Team Upton prepare for the biathlon the school has run a special swim club in the two terms leading up to the New Year – and now a running club is underway to support competitors’ development in this aspect of the tough challenge.
Callum Noble, Sports Lead, said: “We are really pleased with the amount of children who qualified from Upton.
“This is one of our best showings of our swimmers and runners making it to nationals – forty per cent of Upton competitors who took part in the qualifying stage have made it through to the big finale.
“Just making it through to the final stage is a huge achievement of which they should be incredibly proud, considering that there are just 100 biathletes from around the country taking part in each group.”
Mr Noble will also be flying the Upton flag as he qualified for the final in the teachers’ competition.
Head of School Darci Arthur said: “Our team has performed brilliantly in the qualifiers and those who have deservedly made the final will carry all our best wishes and support with them for their big weekend.
“Sports plays a large part of life at Upton with pupils able to compete at levels that suit them best, whether it is in PE, in our sports clubs, in inter-house competitions, or on the regional or national stage.
“Whatever the outcome at the biathlon finals we know our teams will be fantastic sporting ambassadors and will enjoy a wonderful experience that will inspire all our pupils.”
Upton decided to step in and hold its own national qualifiers in December as opportunities in the south east were few and far between. The school believed that all children should have the opportunity to partake in a national event such as this if they wish. The Upton aim was to make attendance at qualifying heats easy and to give the opportunity to as many young people as possible.