Leeds International Competition in Germany

Report by Ashley Little

Leeds City AC and Rothwell Harriers who are part of the Leeds McCain Athletics Network took a group of 33 athlete and 10 team managers over to Dortmund, Germany to compete in a annual international competition. The group left on Thursday 17th of March, competing over the weekend, and returned on Monday 21st.

The trip has been organised through Leeds City Council in previous years (Leeds have been taking a team over the last 12 years), however this year Leeds City AC organised it along with Rothwell Harriers.

On the Saturday, the Leeds team competed against 9 other teams from: Dortmund, Germany, Poland, Budapest, Sweden, Novisad, Holland, Belgium, ???. The Leeds team had athletes aged 9-15, some who had been on the trip before, and some new to the experience. The day started off with a team parade around the track, a celebration of bringing different countries all together to compete.

After the parade, the competition began, and team points were to be won! Every athlete competed in 2 events and there were many personal bests beaten. Throughout the day the teams positions kept changing, and with the Leeds team not having a complete younger age group team and not being able to field relay teams for the group C boys and girls, there was uncertainty of where we would finish. The relays closed the competition, with the group B and group A teams fighting to finish first in their heat and get the quickest time overall.

After the competition, all the teams headed to the presentation. We had many 1st, 2nd amd 3rd place medals as well as 2 athletes finishing in the top 6 of their age group on points which is a fantastic achievement, and the Leeds team finished 3rd!! This is a true testament to the athletesí performances, as we did not field a full team. Dortmund finished 2nd, and Budapest beat Dortmund into 1st, for the first time!

The trip was a huge success, and there have already been discussions between Leeds City AC and Rothwell Harriers to prepare and organise the 2012 trip. The Clubs will use the trip in 2012 to bumper launch the Olympics, and provide opportunities for potential future Olympians.