British League target for club chief Lincoln

Highly-rated: Decathlete Liam Ramsey.
Highly-rated: Decathlete Liam Ramsey.

DONCASTER Athletic Club are gearing up for an expected membership boost in 2012 , courtesy of the London Olympic Games.

The sport’s profile is set to soar next year in the run-up to the Olympics, being held in July, and beyond, and England Athletics are anxious that member clubs take full advantage of the interest generated in Track & Field during the Games.

“We believe that we will get quite a few youngsters coming down next year as a result of the Olympics,” said club official Barry Barnes.

The Keepmoat Stadium-based club has already experienced a membership boom since moving to the Keepmoat Stadium complex in 2007 with numbers quadrupling to around 500.

The influx of young talent has helped the club reach Northern Premier League status at both National Young Athletes League and National Junior League level.

The club’s senior team has climbed to Northern League Division Two level and with the first of the junior influx of five years ago now starting to reach the age where they can compete at senior level, hopes are high that Division One status will be achieved,

But the club’s ambition doesn’t end there and chairman Kev Lincoln has set his sights on bringing British League athletics to the town at some future date.

The club are already producing athletes of British League standard with highly-rated decathlete Liam Ramsey joining City of Sheffield earlier this year and teenage sprinter Ransford Anthony likely to be representing Mansfield next season as a second claim member.

As well as qualifying via the play-offs, Doncaster would need to upgrade their current six-lane track to an eight-lane track in order to secure British League status.

The club, as have Doncaster Rovers, have been involved in talks with Doncaster Council, reported to be keen to hand over the day-to-day running of the loss-making Keepmoat complex to the respective major players.

One of the ideas thought to have been discussed is that both clubs lease their respective stadiums and take charge of the general upkeep.

A retired police inspector, and a well-respected figure in influential circles in the town, Lincoln is expected to brief members of the latest developments and options at next week’s AGM.

Were the club to be given control of the athletics stadium, for which they currently pay the Stadium Management Committee (SMC) a five-figure annual rental for use of the facilities three nights a week and specific weekend dates during the track and field season, it would mean that they would be able to make agreed improvements to the complex - such as widening the track and building a clubhouse - were they able to fund the work. They would also be able to operate the track on a more regular basis.

“Having some control over the stadium seven days a week would certainly enable us to plan things better,” said Barnes who was one of the driving forces behind the long-running campaign to build the new complex.

“We would enable us to increase the number of training sessions and also, for example, set aside a day specifically for induction sessions which are currently held on training nights.”