Para World Championship finalist, James Hamilton, recently joined Clara Casey from St Patrick’s Primary School Derry and Orrin Mullan from Faughanvale Primary School at St Columb’s Park in Derry to launch this year’s Flahavan’s Athletics NI Primary School Cross Country League.

The League, which is expected to attract over 4,500 entrants from 200+ schools will bring together young runners aged between 9 and 12 years old from across Northern Ireland – and marks the ninth consecutive year of sponsorship by Flahavan’s Porridge.

Following on from the successful introduction last year of a new format for the League, runners will compete in one of two regional rounds held in counties Down and Antrim or the North West, Causeway Coast, Southern and Tyrone/Fermanagh area – each taking place over a week in October and November.

Qualifying runners will then be invited to take part in the final due to be held on 22nd January 2020.

Speaking at the launch about his new ambassador role, James Hamilton, said: “As a para-athlete, I am passionate about inspiring young people of all abilities to get involved in sport. This year’s League provides the perfect opportunity for both experienced and novice runners aged between 9 and 12 years old to sign-up – and I look forward to meeting with competitors as the rounds progress.

“Through my role as one of this year’s Flahavan’s ambassadors, I will share my top training tips – including the importance of a healthy and balanced diet – which is why the partnership between Athletics NI and Flahavan’s is a great fit.

“This could be the start of an exciting career for our sporting stars of the future, so I encourage all schools across Northern Ireland to get involved!”

Flahavan’s ambassador, James, competed in the IPC World Para Championships in London in 2017 where he came 6th overall. This August, he ran at the Manchester International running a season’s best, and becoming the 8th fastest athlete in the world in his category this year.

Olympian, and 2018 European Championships athlete, Kerry O’Flaherty, will also return as a Flahavan’s ambassador for the League again this year alongside James Hamilton. Kerry competed in the European Cross Country Championships in 2018 in Tilburg, and the European Track & Field 2018 Championships in Berlin. Kerry’s current standing is 6th in UK for the 3000m Steeplechase this year.

The 2019/20 Flahavan’s Porridge Athletics NI Primary School Cross Country League will get underway on Friday 4th October at Lurgan Park.

For further information on taking part in the League, please contact the Athletics NI office on [email protected]  or 028 9060 2707.

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