Doncaster Athletic Club trio head to national championships

(l-r) Stephanie Hall, Leaha Dixon, Roni Martin are pictured with their Doncaster AC coach Diana Stanger.
(l-r) Stephanie Hall, Leaha Dixon, Roni Martin are pictured with their Doncaster AC coach Diana Stanger.

Three young disabled athletes from Doncaster Athletic Club will line up for Yorkshire at the Typhoo National Junior Athletics Championships in Coventry this weekend.

Leaha Dixon, 16, of Campsmount Academy, is a T35 sprinter going for gold in the 100, 200 and 400m.

She is also using the event as a warm up for the Cerebral Palsy World Development Games, which take place in Nottingham in August, as part of England’s national squad.

Former Danum School pupil Stephanie Hall, 18, is a T42/F42 athlete and will run in the 100m as well as compete in javelin and discus.

Roni Martin, 12, is going to his first national finals and has been training at Doncaster AC for two years. The T20 athlete throws shot, discus and javelin and attends Pennine View School.

The trio will join others from Yorkshire to run, throw and jump against other young disabled athletes from around England as they try to wrestle the title from the current champions, the North East.

More than 1,000 disabled athletes, aged 12-20, have participated in nine regional qualifying events and around 250 will compete at Warwick University Stadium on Saturday and Sunday.

Diana Stanger, head disability coach at Doncaster AC, said: “Leaha, Stephanie and Roni have been training hard and take their athletics seriously and are hopeful that they will come away with medals.

“It’s not just about winning though. It’s very important to take part. Sport improves range of movement, encourages physical activity and offers the chance to compete.

“Arguably the biggest factor is the boost to self-esteem and confidence and the chance to meet other disabled people, because having a disability can often be isolating.

“Sport allows everyone, disabled or able-bodied, to be the best they can be. They don’t have to be medal winners and we just like to see them do well and enjoy themselves.”