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Young athletes excel at national championships

MEDAL WINNERS: Euan Nicholls, Natasha French, Max and Grace Nicholls. Picture: DAVE DOWNEY
MEDAL WINNERS: Euan Nicholls, Natasha French, Max and Grace Nicholls. Picture: DAVE DOWNEY

ASHFORD School athletes were in tremendous form at the annual National Schools biathlon championships, which were staged in the superb facilities of Bath University.

Four athletes at the school qualified for the championships, and all four pupils returned with medals.

With 1,000 qualifiers from schools around the UK aged from nine to 18, there was tremendous competition for the honours with the athletes having to complete a testing run and swim.

Top honours went to 16-year-old Grace Nicholls, new to this event, who was thrilled to take the gold in her 1000m run in 2:55 minutes and who completed a 100m swim in 1:10. It put her in the silver medal position overall, only seven points off the winning score of 2309.

Natasha French, a Year 5 entrant, had an excellent 50m swim in 36.62 seconds to put her in seventh place and with a seventh place 1000m run in 3:42, her combined score earned her the bronze medal overall in her age group.

Grace's younger brothers Euan and Max were also in action and both recorded excellent finishes as well.

Euan, also a Year 5 pupil, was 12th in his swim with 37.39 sec, but after a very strong run in 3:30 for third place, he gained fifth place overall.

Max was competing in the Year 7 age group, fought back in the run after a rough start saw him pushed off the track.

He achieved sixth place from a 3:17 run and 13th place in his 33.56 swim to finish sixth overall.

Ashford School will field teams in all age groups at the South East clubs’ event in Croydon next month.

The school is poised for continued success under the expert guidance of PE teacher Stephanie Watchorn.

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