What a year it has been for young Slemish College student, and Ballymena and Antrim Athletic Club sprinter, Lauren Roy.
Lauren, who competes in the under 15 category, trained hard throughout the winter, often in inclement weather conditions, so that when the athletics season got into full swing in April she would be well prepared.
The hard work must have paid off as the talented sprinter started off the season by picking up both titles in the 60m and 200m indoor Ulster/N.Ireland Championships. She then went on to pick up gold in the Ulster Schools 100m and silver in the 200m before following that up with ‘the jewel in the crown’ Irish schools 100m title. The all Ireland athletics championships are fiercely competitive so to win a 100m title outright is an amazing achievement.
Add to these titles a plethora of domestic wins and Lauren was soon on the radar of ‘Athletics N. Ireland’ who asked her to compete for Ulster in this weekend’s prestigious ‘England Athletics Championships’ at the Bedford International Stadium. This annual event brings together the best athletes from the UK, Ireland and further afield so the competition for medals is stiff.
The first day of these England Athletics Championships saw some great performances throughout track and field events with the rankings lists for the year seeing notable revisions and new records set.
The weather stayed sunny and dry for the sprint competition and the young Ballymena flyer got off to a great start by winning her heat which put her through to the semi finals. A fast time in the semi final saw her line up against the cream of UK sprinters in the Championships final.
Although she didn’t win a medal this time she still gave her all and did her club, coach Paul Strange, school, supporters and, most importantly, herself proud. Lauren has been carrying a niggling injury right throughout the second half of the season but her times from the first half of the season would suggest that, fully fit, Lauren could compete very favourably with the top UK and Irish sprinters.