Oliver Carolan of Boyne AC is crowned National Champion Under 12 Shot Put.
Months of hard training certainly paid off for young Boyne AC members Oliver Carolan and Ledley King Abor, as they both gained podium spots at the Athletics Ireland National Championships recently.
A glorious sunny day saw the small contingent of athletes make their way to Tullmaore once again, where athletes from all over the country assembled to battle it out for a much coveted top three spots in their individual events.
For these two young men, the road to All Ireland success was a long and tough one, with qualification achieved through their provincial championships which took place early in June.
At the Leinster Championships, Oliver Carolan took an impressive haul of 3 u12 individual medals, silver in both the long jump and turbo javelin, and also took gold in the shot put to be crowned the outdoor champion, adding to his Leinster Indoor title from March, while Ledley King Abor sprinted his way to a fine silver medal in his u12 Leinster Championships 60m sprint.
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With only the top four in each event gaining qualification to the National event, the bar was certainly set very high for these talented youngsters.
Fast forward to the National Finals on June 29th, and Oliver was first to compete, battling it out against the top 20 in the land in the long jump, however, some below par jumps due to a slight foot injury saw him finish 10th overall, still no mean feat at this level of competition.
It was then onto the track for Ledley in his heat of the 60m sprint, with a stacked field of competitors, the pressure was on to secure a place in the final, with just the top two in each heat, plus the two fastest times progressing on to challenge for the title.
A super time of 8.63 seconds saw him finish second in his heat and sail through to the next round, with a chance to rest and regroup, it was then back to the track for what can only be described as one of the best races of the day, with a mere 0.5 of a second separating the top three across the line, impossible to tell the finishing positions with the naked eye it was an agonising few seconds wait for the electronic timing system to reveal the placing order, with Ledley awarded the third spot overall, and a national medal to boot.
There is certainly more to come from this young man who, from a talented family of sprinters under the watchful eye of Coach Ken Meier, all have a bright future in athletics ahead of them.
With the celebrations for Ledley in full swing, it was then back to the field events for Oliver, as he faced the tough challenge of competing in two events simultaneously, due to a scheduling clash which saw both the boys u12 turbo and shot put starting at the same time. From his first throw in the shot put of 10.10m, Oliver held the lead, through to round five, where a new competition PB of 10.32m pushed him further beyond the reaches of his nearest competitor.
Despite the stressful and tiring running back and forth between the two events, he managed to maintain his excellent form in the shot put, taking the win and the title of Irish Champion with a clear margin of over 1m back to second place, and also finished in a fine fifth place in the turbo javelin.
With coach Kevin Fennell already planning for next year’s National Championships, Oliver too is one to watch for in the coming years!
To round off the day, the two boys teamed up with their friends and club-mates Calum Byrne and Harry Devitt to contest the u12 relay. A lightening quick start from Harry saw him pass the baton to Oliver in a strong position, a fast sprint on the back straight saw the baton passed to Calum, who took the bend with ease, gaining momentum with every stride, a clean change to Ledley and a super final leg sprint however, saw the boys finish just short of a qualifying spot in the final, but heads held high having certainly given it their all.
On Sunday last, it was back to Tullamore once again, this time for the first day of competition for the older juveniles, not to be outdone by their younger counterparts, Boyne ACs two athletes in action made sure that they too came home with a medal hanging proudly around their necks.
First to compete was Euan Canniffe who is certainly making a name for himself in the throwing events, where in the u17 Javelin he threw a fine 44.27m using the regulation 700g Javelin, enough to earn him a bronze medal.
Just as Euan took his place on the podium, Aaron Fennell stepped onto the field for his u14 Javelin (400g) event, and what a performance he gave. An exciting competition between Aaron and Blaine Lynch from Finn Valley AC enthralled the spectators, with both boys opening with their best throws and consistently throwing well over the next seven attempts.
A new PB throw of 47.39m for Aaron left just a 2m gap between the two boys, earning him a much deserved National Silver Medal, a fantastic result for this young man, with certainly much more to come.
The sprint races are set to take place this Saturday, where Boyne will hope to be among the medal winners on the day, with no fewer than five athletes competing, having qualified through the Leinster Championships recently.