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Two representatives and one Bronze medal at the UK School Games

Published Tuesday 16th of September 2014 03:17:16 PM

Two pupils from Oakham School had the honour of representing their region at the UK School Games. The four-day event, held in Manchester, is a national multi-sport competition for elite young athletes from across the UK.

Sam Clarke had a fantastic end to his athletics season, taking home a Bronze medal in the hurdles. Sam, who is 16 and lives in Oakham, was "delighted" to claim the Bronze medal, and to take his first major podium finish of his young career. Sam was particularly proud to have been given his medal by the Gold medal-winning Olympic sprinter, Jason Gardener. "He congratulated me and wished me all the best for the winter season," says Sam. "It was a real honour to meet him and for him to be the one to present me with my medal."
Sam's success follows on from a fantastic result at the England U17 National Athletics Championships, held in Bedford two weeks ago. He qualified for the final by running a new personal best of 13.77. He then went on to break his personal best again, by running 13.75, which placed him 6th in the final. "Sam has taken his place as one of the top young hurdlers in England," says Director of Sport, Iain Simpson. "This really is a tremendous achievement, especially given that he only started training properly once his GCSEs were finished." Sam will be training throughout the winter, in preparation for the Midlands and National indoor events, where he will be moving up into a new age group (U19).

Annie Dalton, a centre half hockey player, had the added challenge of joining a team who had never played together before the event. "It took us a couple of games to work together," says 17-year-old Annie, from Spalding. "We lost in the last 30 seconds against Scotland, who then went on to win the competition. The results really didn't reflect our performance, not until the last game where we won convincingly, 4-1, against Wales." As well as playing at Oakham School, Annie also plays weekly for the Beeston Hockey Club.

Both students likened the competition to the Olympics, as they had the opportunity to experience an athlete's village, take part in the opening and closing ceremonies, and to compete in front of large crowds. "It was really nice to be surrounded by some of the best athletes in the UK," says Sam.

They also both have clear goals for the future; Sam is aiming to get a medal at the English Schools Championship in 2016, whilst Annie is clear that "this has inspired me to go further," and her target is to reach the England U21 team. Before this, she is looking forward to playing in Oakham's First XI, after having already benefited from pre-season training during the recent Sports Tour to South Africa. "It should be a strong season � our goal is to get to the Nationals."

"Along with the accolade of qualifying for the finals, both Annie and Sam have gained some invaluable experience in taking part in this competition," says Iain. "It is a testament to the quality of Oakham's sport, particularly the outstanding quality of our coaches, to have two pupils competing at such a high level."
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