West Norfolk athletes honoured at virtual awards night
The annual Athletics Norfolk Awards night was due to take place at the start of April, but like almost everything else at that time had suffered postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last week, the awards night managed to go a head but this time in a ‘virtual’ way as a Facebook Live broadcast.
On the night, five West Norfolk Athletics Club members were awarded for their fantastic achievements in 2019.
Alfie Williams was awarded Best Field Athlete for under-17 men for the shot put.
Williams has always been a consistent big performer for West Norfolk and for the county but 2019 was a truly exceptional year for him.
He began the year by winning a bronze medal in the shot at the Indoor National championships at Sheffield, throwing a personal best of 14.11m.
In May 2019, he became both County and Norfolk Schools Champion, throwing a new 14.65m personal best.
Two months later, he qualified and was selected to his third consecutive England Schools Championships for Norfolk at Birmingham.
He threw another personal best and setting a new county and club record, throwing 15.12m.
Williams won the bronze medal that day.
In August 2019, he was selected to debut for the England team in the shot put and travelled to Dublin in the his first international competition at the Youth Nations Cup, throwing 14.97m and winning a silver medal.
The same month, at the National Outdoor Championships at Bedford, he finished just outside the medals in 4th 14.65m after a close fought contest.
In September, he was selected to represent Norfolk at England Schools Combined events Championships in Exeter in the Octathlon.
He was selected for the National Youth Talent Programme, for shot by GB Athletics and finished the year as UK ranked number seven.
Following an ankle injury in January and recovery during Lockdown, Williams is back training hard on a new technique having moved from Glide to rotation.
He is looking forward to a few light competitions to end this unprecedented season but he is aiming to come back strong and confident in 2021 under guidance from national shot coach Stuart Carlaw and West Norfolk coach Allan Williams.
A massive well done goes to Nathan Protheroe, who was named Athletics Norfolk Most Improved Athlete 2019 season.
Protheroe was a third year Under 20s male athlete. He moved into the long jump after spending previous years concentrating on the hurdles.
It turned into a great season which saw him come back from injuries which had kept him out for much of the previous year.
Protheroe became Norfolk county under-20 men’s indoor and outdoor long jump champion, and county indoor 60m hurdles champion.
Later in the season, he put in his best performance in at Cambridge jumping a personal best of 6.63m to become Eastern Counties Champion.
Other achievements were qualifying to hurdle at the England national athletics indoor championships, representing the UEA in both the indoor and outdoor British University Championships.
Paul Bailey and Matthew Bailey are father and son and were awarded Norfolk’s Officials of the Year.
Paul is a high-level official for club and county. He is a volunteer second to none.
He is coach to the junior developing athletes as well as Welfare officer, event organiser and is a high-ranked UKA field official.
He is often field referee at local and county events but also officiates in Sportshall athletics right up-to national and even international televised events.
Paul is a true unsung hero as without his efforts behind the scenes many events would just not take place and unlike the athletes in his care his efforts often go unrewarded or recognised.
He is an essential cog in the athletics wheel.
Meanwhile, Matthew is fast following in his dad’s footsteps.
Matthew was an accomplished club hurdles athlete and is also a coach and is working toward his level 3 officials qualification.
The youngster is proficient in the use of electronic measuring technology, and is a true all-rounder and role model for the sport in every aspect, supporting in events from Sportshall athletics to local and county events.
Lucy Koenigsberger was awarded Best Field Athlete for under-20s women in 2019.
Last season, Koenigsberger was county champion and record holder, selected for England Schools Championships and finished the season ranked 29th in the UK.
Koenigsberger remained at West Norfolk as a second claim athlete after joining Shaftesbury Barnet in 2018 to enable her to take part in regular high level competitions.
She has been consistently good and is an upcoming star of the hammer throw.
The youngster has qualified and been selected to represent Norfolk at the England Schools Championships every year she was able since 2015, wining bronze medals twice and having her highest overall UK ranking of fourth in 2016.
A special mention goes out to Lucy Oakley for winning the Best Field Athlete for under-15 girls for the shot put.
Oakley is coached by West Norfolk throws coach Allan Williams and Marianne Oakley at Lynnsport.
She is now ranked UK 25th, qualified for England Schools in her first season and consistently setting club records.
Oakley was a Ryston Runner athlete but last season joined City of Norwich but trains with West Norfolk.
With lockdown easements happening all the time, West Norfolk AC are hoping to return to training at Lynnsport very soon under new strict guidelines.
These will enable the athletes to embrace the “new normal” putting in the hard work and making steps toward more awards next time.