Many congratulations to Josh Clarke (Upper Fifth, Dicker), who competed in the prestigious ESAA (English Schools' Athletics Association) National Championships earlier this month.
Representing Sussex, Josh competed in the U17 Boys Javelin after getting through the tough qualifying rounds (only the top two competitors from each county were selected). He finished in 10th place - a remarkable achievement, especially considering that he was one of the youngest in his category at just 15 years old.
"I was honoured to be there," Josh says. "The atmosphere at the championships was buzzing. Everyone there was the best in the country in their field, and you could feel the intensity and focus around the stadium. It was clear how much hard work everyone had put in, and - although there were less people there than in a 'normal' year - to have spectators cheering the competitors on was fantastic."
Josh has been training and competing in javelin for the past 5 years. "Javelin is an exciting sport. I can't describe the feeling of getting a good throw - it's just the best. I have received a lot of support from my family and coach over the years, and that motivates me to keep going and do the best I can. "
Alongside sport-specific training (as well javelin, Josh plays hockey and other athletics events), Josh is following a strength and conditioning programme written for him by Mr Morriss. "It's going really well," Josh comments. "I've been following the programme for three years, and am seeing a good improvement. It's important to get stronger in the right way by gradually increasing weights over time.
"I am lucky to have received some amazing support from coaches and teachers at Bede's. Mr Byrne has been a massive support, letting me go to lunch early or even getting me a packed lunch so that I can use the gym during breaks. Mr Abraham, my housemaster, has been sending me nice emails throughout the holiday, for which I can't thank him enough. Mr Corbishley, my tutor, has also been an incredible support."
Josh will head back up to Manchester to compete in the England Athletics U17 Championships next weekend. We wish him the best of luck!