Spartans duo relishing UK Games challenge

CITY OF Derry Spartans duo, Ciara Armstrong and Anna Barr are relishing the prospect of representing Northern Ireland at the 2011 Sainsbury’s UK School Games in Sheffield next month.

Ciara (15) and Anna (16) will compete against the UK’s school-aged elite in the 300m hurdles and 300m respectively, with both competing in the 4x300m relay at Don Valley Stadium, from September 1st to September 4th.

Selection for the Games was one of Ciara’s ambitions at the start of the season and she was delighted to be chosen for the first time.

“I was so pleased when I got the email telling me I was selected for the Sainsbury’s UK School Games,” she said. “Getting selected was one of my main aims for the season.

“There are other older athletes that I train with, who have already been to the Sainsbury’s UKSG in previous years, and they have told me how good of an opportunity the event is and I can’t wait!”

Her Spartan teammate, Anna has been selected for the competition for the second time but this year she feels she can excel in the 300m event.

“I am very pleased and excited to be selected again,” said Anna. “I competed in the Sainsbury’s UK School Games last year; however my event was the triple jump. I had a brilliant time so I hope this year will be as good.

“The standard is very high at the UK School Games, so I hope to achieve a personal best in the 300m and see what happens from there.”

Former GB athlete and Olympic gold medallist, Denise Lewis has a vast experience of global multisport events and was quick to recognise the fantastic opportunity for young athletes to get a taste of elite competition.

“Congratulations to Ciara and Anna for being selected to represent Northern Ireland at the UK School Games. It really is a fantastic achievement.

“Ciara and Anna will meet young athletes from all over the UK whilst spending time at the athlete’s village, swapping stories and experiences as well as competing on the track.”

Over 1,600 elite school aged athletes will compete across 12 sports including disability events in four sports. The multi-sport event is delivered by the Youth Sport Trust and designed to replicate a major championships with Opening and Closing Ceremonies and an Athletes’ Village.