First National Final For Nat

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Nat’s own thoughts on his hurdles performance: “always a great start, always a great finish, it’s just the bit in between that’s not so good!!” Plenty of room for improvement ☺

Last weekend, Under 15 Harrier, Nat Bell took part in his first English Schools National Final as part of the Durham County Junior Boys team. Back in July, the boys performed admirably to win the Combined Events Regional Finals, and after a long wait they travelled down to Bedfordto compete at the National Finals.

Considering it was a National Final it was a very relaxed event. There was still some serious competition with a high calibre of athletes, but the emphasis was on having fun, which created a tremendous sporting atmosphere. Nat, still in his first year at under 15, wasn’t expecting any medals this time. His plan as always, was to give it 100%, concentrate on beating his own PB’s, and just enjoy the whole experience.

First up was the 80m Hurdles. Certainly not Nat’s strongest event, he’s always glad to get this one out of the way! He finished 3rd in his heat in a time of 14.43s. A great effort, but after landing badly over one of the hurdles, he picked up a slight niggle to his ankle/heel. Frustrating start!

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The next event was the shot putt which went well. With a best throw and a new PB of 9.5m, Nat was happy with that. In fact it was the best throw from all the Durham boys, and according to his team manager, one which could have been even better with improved technique. Something to work on for next year (maybe a few lessons from Rosie & Lily!)
After a break for lunch it was time for one of Nat’s stronger events, the long jump. The Durham boys had been to the indoor warm up area getting their ‘run ups’ right so Nat was feeling pretty confident going into his first jump…..and it showed. A great effort resulting in a jump of 5.07m. He was pleased to get a decent jump on the board, but felt there was more to come. Unfortunately that niggle he sustained in the hurdles was back, and with the continual pounding down the run up, and landing in the pit, things were going from bad to worse. Unable to improve on the 5.07m, by the end of the long jump, Nat was limping badly. It wasn’t looking good…..

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a great effort in the shot with a new PB
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excellent first jump before the injury kicked in

There was about an hour and a half to the next event, the high jump, so Nat was hoping the rest beforehand would help. Unfortunately, his take off foot for the high jump was the injured one! Feeling frustrated and not wanting to let anyone down, Nat was unsure what to do. After discussions with the team manager it was decided that to prevent the injury from getting any worse, Nat should withdraw from the competition.

A disappointing end to an excellent weekend. There’s never a good time to sustain an injury, but competing in a National Final is probably one of the worst. To end on a positive note, Nat thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Considering the Junior Boys hadn’t known each other that long, they got on really well and were very supportive of each other, and with Nat competing a year young…..there’s always next year! For more photos of the boys in action click here

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