Mencap athletics champsMore than 80 athletes with a learning disability from across the UK competed at Mencap’s National Athletics Championship at Barnsley’s Dorothy Hyman Athletics Stadium on Saturday, June 25.

The athletes competed in a range of track and field events including 100m, 5000m, hurdles, high, long and triple jumps, hammer, discus, shot put and javelin. A festival of athletics events also ran alongside the championships, which was open to people with a learning disability of all abilities. 

Learning disability charity Mencap hosted the championships, which are sanctioned by INAS, in partnership with Special Olympics GB and England Athletics, to encourage more people with a learning disability to get involved with sport. The event also helps to find talented athletes who could compete in elite competitions, like the Paralympics. 

Martin Lees, national sports manager at Mencap, said: “This year’s event has been absolutely fantastic and has given people with a learning disability, whether they are elite athletes or not, from all over the UK the chance to get involved in athletics.

“We’ve seen some brilliant talent competing at the championships and we’ve had lots of people come along who have never competed before as well, which is fantastic. 

“Competitions like these are so important in making sure that people with a learning disability know that they have the same opportunities to participate, enjoy and excel in sport at all levels.”