Natalie Chan-Lam, Natalia Hackett and Joe Littler hit the gold standard as young athletes from Sheffield did their city proud at the UK School Games.
With the London Olympics fast approaching, it was up to the athletes of tomorrow to give us a taste of what to expect and with the backing of a home crowd, the 10 Sheffield youngsters taking part bagged 13 medals - three gold, four silver and six bronze.
Badminton star Natalie Chan-Lam marked her return from injury by collecting four medals at her first tournament of the season. She started by winning silver in the team round robin, winning all but one of her matches including a thrilling mixed doubles tie again Scotland in round two.
With that medal in the bag, she then claimed gold in the girls’ singles with a 14-21, 21-13, 21-14 win over Jessica Hopton, grabbed a bronze in the girls doubles and then added a silver in the mixed doubles when she and partner Ben Lane lost a thrilling all-England final to Sean Vendy and Brodie Miller 21-17, 18-21, 21-19.
Fellow Sheffield High School pupil Natalia, known as the ‘Pocket Rocket,’ completed a clean sweep of titles for 2011, adding a UKSG 3000m to her already impressive collection which includes the English Schools Intermediate Girls 3000m.
Having fought hard through the wind and rain, she was clearly delighted with her performance: “I really worked for the victory. I didn’t expect to win all of these championships this season but I have and I’m so pleased.”
“It was great to race in front of my home crowd and I appreciate all the support I received.”
Meanwhile in the fencing, Joe did his chances of making the move up to the senior GB team no harm as he and his team beat Wales in the final of the boys’ epee event.
Team England completely dominated the fencing, winning all 13 gold medals on offer. Athlete Adam Khan had a day of mixed fortunes, winning silver in the boys’ triple jump but was part of the 4x400m relay team that was disqualified.
Richard Lee won three medals over the two days of swimming at Ponds Forge including silver in the 4x100m freestyle team event. The 16-year-old came third and fourth in the 50m and 100m freestyle events respectively before helping his team to a bronze finish in the 4x100m medley relay.
Fellow swimmer Tegan Turner-Clarke won bronze in the 200m freestyle and was part of the England North team that finished fourth in the girls 400m freestyle race, while Andrew Gould came fifth the Boys MC 100m backstroke.
Table tennis ace Eric Wan claimed bronze as part of the England North East side that overcame a stubborn Scottish side 4-3 in the third place play off.