AFTER months of training and two qualifying rounds, Brandon Downey from Sacred Heart Primary, Tattyreagh, was crowned winner of the Flahavan’s Athletics NI Primary School Cross County League after securing first place in the boys’ race at the final.
Emer McKee from St Joseph’s Primary, Carryduff was victorious in the girls’ race with Devis Tarvids from Holy Trinity Primary, Enniskillen and Clara Casey from St Patrick’s Primary, Derry securing second place in their respective races – and Shea King from Faughanvale Primary, Derry and Kari Foster from Spa Primary Ballynahinch, coming in third.
Over 400 local athletes, aged 9-11 years old, competed in the Final, which was held at Mallusk Playing Fields on January 22.
The league, which is committed to encouraging children to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, was launched by Olympian and 2018 European Championships athlete, Kerry O’Flaherty and para-athlete James Hamilton. In the biggest year-to-date, over 4,000 runners aged between 9 and 11 years old from across Northern Ireland, took part in the league.
Kerry and James presented the successful competitors with their medals at the Final, speaking at the event, Kerry said: “It’s been wonderful to see so many runners competing in this year’s league. The standard of the competition this year has been fantastic and is testament to the primary schools’ dedication and hard work throughout the year.
James Hamilton added: “All the competitors should be very proud of their efforts this year. It’s fantastic to see so many young people coming into the cross country community and laying the foundations for a potential athletics career.”
Alice Quirke, Brand Manager for Flahavan’s, concluded: “We’re proud to have sponsored the league for the past nine years and during that time we’ve seen thousands of young athletes progress through the competition, with many going on to have successful athletic careers.”
Following the final, the top 20 girls and top 20 boys are invited to join the Flahavan’s ANI Junior Endurance Squad to support their development as athletes in the year ahead.