Olympic finalist Laura to present club awards

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DONCASTER Athletic Club have been quick out of the blocks to line-up an Olympic Games star for their annual presentation evening early next year.

Alnwick-born Laura Weightman, a surprise 1,500m finalist at the London Games, will present the awards at the function at the Keepmoat Stadium on Friday, February 15.

The club will also have the likes of Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies and hopefully National middle distance and endurance coach Peter Scobie who coached David Devine who won two bronze in the 2012 Paralympics. He has also had coached several other able-bodied athletes to major titles over the years.

“Getting Laura to make the presentations is a feather in our cap,” said club spokesman Barry Barnes. “She’s up and coming and she’s certainly going to make a name for herself. “She can’t go far wrong with having Steve Cram as her coach. He’s done it all and knows what’s required to make it to the top and I’m sure he’ll be able to give her the advice she needs on tactics and how to handle the pressure.”

Although the club’s weekly training sessions are still being held at their Keepmoat Stadium base, a number of coaching sessions are also being held at local schools, including Danum Lower School sports hall, where Barnes is putting his endurance group through their paces on a Tuesday evening.

“Things are going well with my group,” he told The Star. “Bertie Houghton ran in the UK Cross Country Challenge on Saturday at Liverpool. I think he came 39th out of 129 in the Under-20s race despite only being 17 and being at the bottom of the age group.

“It was a good performance and he’s got another couple of goes at it and should do even better in the next couple of years.”

Some of our young runners have also been placed in the South Yorkshire Cross Country League. I’ve got a very promising group of under-15s.

Callum Wilson, who will go on to run 1,500m and 3,000m races on the track, has finished second twice and third on another occasion.

Elliott Tonge, who is doing Under-15s 800m indoor events as well as cross country, is another good young prospect.

Callum Tomlinson and Kallum Silcox are both doing well over the country and they are also promising track athletes.

Jake Phillips, who is an under-17 runner, has just joined the group and he’s going to be a star of the future.

“I’m not sure at the stage whether he’s going to be a 400m and 800m runner or an 800m and 1,500m - I’m think more on the 400 and 800 at this moment in time.

“All the group are working hard which is important because it’s the work that they put in now, and the next few years, which will stand them in good stead in their senior careers.”

NO need to ask who ate all the pies in the media centre at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday, it was me.

Unbeknownst to me, Rovers media manager Steve Uttley had struck up a deal with the Yorkshire Pie Company who have a shop in town, to supply pies to the media post-match and they were so delicious that I had a double helping prior to Saturday’s home game against Scunthorpe.

I was still feeling full when I arrived home at 6.30pm only to find that my wife had made me a big dinner.

I hadn’t the heart to tell her I wasn’t hungry and paid the price for my earlier gluttony as I struggled to get through it.