Athletic club leading the way

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Doncaster Athletic Club are winning the race to become one of the most disability inclusive clubs in the country.

The Keepmoat Stadium club came out on top against hundreds of rivals to be named Development Club of the Year at this week’s England Athletics national award night in Birmingham.

The prestigious honour comes hard on the heels of an outstanding performance at the Cerebral Palsy National Championships in Nottingham, where five of Doncaster’s athletes won a hatful of medals and awards.

Armthorpe’s Matthew Whitehead, 20, won gold in the T38 200m and the CP Sport award for most improved male track athlete of 2012.

William Baxter, of South Bramwith, won golds in the F36 discus and F36 javelin in which he also set a new national Under 20 age group record.

The 17-year-old also claimed a bronze medal in the T36 100m at the Harvey Hadden Stadium.

Leah Dixon, of Campsall, achieved personal best times in three events and the 13-year-old was also awarded the title of Under 20 female track athlete of the year.

Kirk Sandall’s Ben Heflin, 15, bagged two silver medals in the T36 100m and 200m races – and was only beaten to gold in both events by Paralympics 100m silver medal winner Graham Ballard.

The quartet rounded off a fantastic championships for Doncaster by securing second place in the 4x100m relay.

Armthorpe’s Kayden Roe, who was unable to attend the event, was also awarded the Colin Rains Award, presented to a developing athlete who shows endeavour and inspiration throughout the season.

Coach Diana Stanger said: “Doncaster Athletic Club has now established itself as a centre for disabled athletes in the South Yorkshire area.

“A lot of athletes who are serious about competing are now attracted to the club.

“We’ve got a nice bunch of established athletes and they’re all doing very well.

“We’re not just for athletes who want to compete though. We’ve got members who just want to get fit, and it helps them socially.”

Club chairman Kevin Lincoln said he was “proud and pleased” to collect the Development Club of the Year award.

A statement from England Athletics said: “Doncaster AC are leading the way for disability integration and inclusion not only in South Yorkshire but in the north.

“They currently have numerous disability training sessions taking place at their club as well as up skilling coaches to be fully inclusive.”

For more information contact Diana Stanger on 07919 253354.