Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Athletes with learning disabilities set records at national championships

RDeclan Manningecords tumbled at learning disability charity Mencap’s 15th Open Athletics Championships at Woodside Stadium in Watford recently.

More than 100 athletes with learning disabilities from across the UK competed at the event, held on June 29, but the headlines were taken by Declan Manning (pictured) from City of Norwich Athletics Club, who set a new English record for the men’s senior discuss, recording a distance of 31.83 metres, and Chloe Knight, who set a new record in the triple jump.

The event was organised by Kathy Collins and Di Freeman, who are both long-serving volunteers for Mencap. The pair had further support on the day from 78 volunteers from Mencap and the Watford Harriers Athletics Club who helped out with everything from making sandwiches to officiating track and field events.

Mencap’s National Sport Manager, Ian Carpenter, attended the event. “People with a learning disability should have the same opportunities to take part in elite sport, enjoy it, and excel in it as all other athletes,” he said. “That’s why the Open Athletics Championships are always a highlight on Mencap’s sporting calendar.

“This day couldn’t have happened without a brilliant group of volunteers and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported the event. I’d also like to say a special thank you to Watford Harriers Athletics Club for their continued support.”

In addition to the Open Learning Disability National Athletics Championships, the day also hosted the Festival of Athletics, which enabled people with a learning disability of all athletic abilities to take part in sporting competition.

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