Champion athlete on the school track

Helen Clitheroe passes on her running tips to pupils at Brooksbank High School.  Pictured from left are Evie Andrews, 14, Jack Senior, 14, Alice Smith, 14, Helen Clitheroe with her gold medal, Nick Rawsthorne, 15, Alex Spencer 12 and Regan Gregg, 14
Helen Clitheroe passes on her running tips to pupils at Brooksbank High School. Pictured from left are Evie Andrews, 14, Jack Senior, 14, Alice Smith, 14, Helen Clitheroe with her gold medal, Nick Rawsthorne, 15, Alex Spencer 12 and Regan Gregg, 14
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SPORTS stars of the future got a helping hand from an athletics champion.

Helen Clitheroe, who picked up the gold in the 3000m at the European Indoor Championships on March 6, led a training session at Brooksbank School, Elland.

She worked with students attached to the school’s Junior Athlete Education Programme, which targets gifted athletes.

“I could tell the sporting aspect of the school is very strong,” said Mrs Clitheroe.

“We were talking about warm ups, running drills - it’s something different for them if they’ve not been going to a running club”.

The young athletes got to see the gold medal Helen picked up in Paris before she gave a talk followed a question and answer session.

She said the programme was great for the youngsters and wished it had been available to her.

“I had to train in the evenings but now children have help in school and also the chance to gain knowledge from people coming into to talk to them.”

Mark Ragan, director of sports at the school, said: “It’s a real spur for the children talking to a sports star they watched on the TV only a week ago.

The school is a sports college and started up the Junior Athlete Education Programme about 18 months ago.

“The children all have a mentor who they can talk to about any problems they are having,” said Mr Ragan.

Evie Andrews and Alice Smith, both 14, are both part of the programme and took part in the morning training session with the gold medal winner.

“When you see Helen in the Great Britain kit it makes you want to achieve that in the future,” said Evie

“I do netball and water polo but the drills will still be really useful.”

Alice said: “Before the programme started I was getting detentions because I was finding hard to fit everything in.

“But now it’s a lot easier. I’d like to get as far as I can with sports and maybe look at teaching or physiotherapy.”

Are you getting the help you need to achieve your sporting dreams? Email: Yoursay@halifaxcourier.co.uk