Double gold for Chesterfield's Orla Conneely in Coventry
Chesterfield’s Orla Conneely took two gold medals as Britain’s best young para-athletics talent took part in Activity Alliance’s National Junior Athletics Championships in Coventry.
The 17-year-old is a member of Chesterfield & District Athletics Club where, despite her young age, she has trained hard to compete at the highest level possible.
Following an incredible competition where she won in both the 100m and 200m, she says she cannot wait to compete again and keep trying to improve.
Reflecting on her achievement, Orla said: “It felt great to be able to come back and defend my 100m and 200m Framerunning titles this year after not being able to compete last year due to COVID. It can get very lonely training on your own for months so being on a track with other Framerunners and athletes has been really good for me.
“I can see how I am progressing with times in relation to my closest competitors. I can also see what I have to work on for future competitions. At the moment I am having to balance my training needs with my A-level work which is tricky, but with the summer coming up I am going be able to really focus on building up my strength and speed.
“My main hopes for the future are to be able to go to more international competitions such as the European Championships and maybe even Paris Paralympics 2024. I am currently part of the British Athletics Paralympic Academy, which is aimed at supporting young athletes with the potential to medal at future Paralympics.
“I am also part of the England Athletics Youth Talent Programme which offers training to future elite athletes. As part of it we are being mentored by some of the biggest track and field athletes today such as Holly Bradshaw, Emily Diamond and Adam Gemili – it is so inspiring! I hope that I can achieve as much as they have done in my sport.”
Many elite athletes began their own success at the prestigious event, including Hannah Cockroft, Hollie Arnold, Aled Davies and Kare Adenegan. They are among many other recognised athletes to have recently been announced as part of the ParalympicsGB team for the upcoming Games in Tokyo.