Impressive performances by Thanet youngsters at British Schools Modern Biathlon Championships

Athletes Rueben, Ava and Lyndon

Thanet has been represented at the British Schools Modern Biathlon Championships with two Wellesley Haddon Dene pupils and a St George’s student among the 1200 athletes competing.

The event was organised by GB Pentathlon, and held in Redditch, Birmingham, over the weekend. Athletes qualified through the regional events held last year and were invited to compete in the finals following a national ranking list. Each athlete competed in an individual swim and run event, with the quickest times accumulating the most points.

St George’s student Reuben Smith made hat trick history by winning his third successive podium finish at the championships and winning a bronze medal.

Reuben, who is in Year 7 and who was formerly a pupil at Wellesley Haddon Dene, smashed the swim in 31 seconds and stormed the run in 2 minutes 31 seconds, culminating in third place overall in Great Britain for his age group.

The result was made all the more special, as it is the third consecutive podium placement at the event. In 2021 and at his first event, Reuben finished an impressive third, and in 2022 was overall winner getting him a gold medal and the opportunity to meet Olympic Gold Medalist Jamie Cooke.

Reuben, who has not had any official athletics training, is a member of Thanet Swim Club, regularly competing in galas throughout the South East. Despite the local pressures of a current lack of training facilities, Reuben still manages to train for up to eight hours per week.

Although modest about his achievements, Reuben attributes his success to “having great coaches and always giving 100% to training”. He added a tip for any aspiring athletes “to always race your hardest and put yourself out of your comfort zone, you never know how well you will do”.

Wellesley Haddon Dene pupil Lyndon Smith, in Year 3, came 11th overall in Great Britain for his age group and fellow school mate Ava Harris, in Year 6, came 33rd.

Lyndon, who has never competed at this level before and is new to competitive swimming, aced his swim with his time putting him in a strong second place for that event. Ava, a returning athlete to the sport, drastically improved both her swim and her running times.

Mrs Parpworth, Headmistress at Wellesley Haddon Dene, said: “We are in awe of Lyndon and Ava’s talents, to get to the championship finals alone, they will have competed against thousands of talented children.

“Not only did they represent our school in the very best light but they helped to put Thanet and Kent on the map for producing some of the finest athletes in the UK.

“Sport is such an important part of our curriculum with our children swimming and running long distances every week. Being able to say you are amongst the best in Britain at a multi discipline sport at such a young age is simply remarkable.”

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1 Comment

  1. Wonderful. Like in the other story.. more evidence of what a lovely little isle we live on. Keep up the good work.

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