Olympics success spells boom time for Doncaster athletics club

Bidding for stardom: Evan Fortune-West, far right, and other young javelin throwers go through their paces at one of the popular Doncaster AC coaching sessions.
Bidding for stardom: Evan Fortune-West, far right, and other young javelin throwers go through their paces at one of the popular Doncaster AC coaching sessions.

DONCASTER Athletic Club now have a waiting list of youngsters wanting to join after this summer’s Olympic Games sparked an interest in the sport.

With the club unable to accommodate any more newcomers at their Tuesday and Thursday night sessions at their Keepmoat Stadium base, they started a four-week Saturday morning session last month.

The sessions, aimed at youngsters aged between 8-15, proved so popular that they have been extended and will continue to run until demand drops off or the weather intervenes.

“We are still getting more than 20 youngsters coming down so it’s worth carrying on,” said chairman Kevin Lincoln. “Because of the numbers we are able to have five or six to each coaching group. We do a a couple of running and a different throwing or jumping event each week and all the youngsters are encouraged to take part in all the events.”

All four activities are staffed by qualified club coaches with such as Eric Whitehead (jumps), Les Grant (throws) and Barry Barnes (sprints and hurdles) putting the youngsters, some of whom have already joined the club, through their paces in an attempt to find out what events they are best at and which they are interested in.

Among the youngsters on the course are Evan Fortune-West, the son of former Doncaster Rovers’ striker Leo Fortune-West, now in charge of Northern Counties East League side Armthorpe Welfare, and Hannah Rudkin, the grand-daughter of former Doncaster Town Cricket Club captain, Brian Rudkin.

Grant, an accomplished 200m and 400m runner in his younger days, is involved in administering the 365 Athletics scheme at the club for both able and disabled runners.

“The idea is that young athletes learn the correct technique at an early age before they go on to a higher level,” he said.

“I want them to enjoy what they are doing but I also want them to learn the right way to do things. The fact that we are working with small groups helps to get the message across.”