Search

Blackheath and Bromley Harriers a breeding ground for Olympic medal hopefuls

09:32 27 July 2012

PA Wire/Press Association Images

For almost 150 years Blackheath and Bromley Harriers athletics club has produced sportsmen and women who have etched their names into the Olympic history books.

This year will be no different as it propels two medal hopefuls into the London Games – Adam Gemili, the 18-year-old 100m sprinter grabbing at the headlines for breaking world records, and marathon man Scott Overall.

Both worked tirelessly for selection to Team GB at the club’s track, Norman Park, in Hayes Lane, Bromley.

Pat Calnan, men’s senior team manager, says: “Adam joined us last April and has progressed a huge amount. He was fast to begin with, but with some proper coaching he has steadily cut his time down.

“He has potential to go under 10 seconds. If he does that, it will be a tremendous achievement for him.”

Explaining the club’s success, Pat said: “Year on year we find new athletes and progress the ones we currently have.

“Our women’s team at junior level have been champions for the past few years and our men’s team enjoyed a similar success in the 1990s.

“When you’re successful at junior level, it breeds success in the future.”

Originally formed in October 1869 as the Peckham Hare and Hounds, the Harriers would later relocate to Bromley – although it wasn’t until March 2003 that Blackheath merged with Bromley Athletics Club to become the organisation we know today.

Stretching back to 1937, the club has produced record-breaking track athletes such as Sidney “The Mighty Atom” Wooderson – who held the world record for the fastest mile for almost five years.

Former Harriers’ coach John Powell recalled the club when he joined in 1978, overseeing young athletes including Dwayne Grant, who went to the Athens games in 2004, and long distance runner Michael Skinner.

“When I arrived there we had just four athletes and we built up the youth scheme until it certainly became the most successful scheme in the country,” John said. “We started going to the national finals, where we were initially eighth, then seventh and sixth in our first three years, before we won it three years on the spin.”

Overall converted from track to road and has competed in just one marathon – in Berlin last year.

He earned himself a British squad place with a time of 2:10.55.

“He made the decision a year ago that he would have a crack at the Berlin marathon and see if he could get an Olympic time,” said Pat. “He joined us a bit later in his life, but just wanted to be part of the organisation because of its success. He’s been with us for about eight years now.

“There will be strong competition from the USA and probably Japan, but I think he’ll beat his previous time. He might just surprise a few people – he’s a strong sprint finisher.”

Excitement has spread around the club as the Games approached and with a home crowd cheering them on, Pat’s Harriers have a head-start in bringing glory back to Bromley.

0 comments

Latest News

15:37
Kent Police

A quantity of cash was reportedly stolen

13:31

One of the complainants was aged 12 at the time of the alleged offence

Yesterday, 16:49
The broken barrier

Barrier damage will mean drivers can expect long delays

Yesterday, 13:05
Dartford Magistrates Court

The decision came following a consultation last year

Yesterday, 11:07
Ann Barnes is still yet to confirm whether she will stand in this May's election Credit: ADY KERRY

It was the only force in England and Wales to receive the rating

Most read

Competitions

Champagne experience

This Valentine’s Day, the Coca-Cola London Eye is the perfect destination for lovebirds, offering a range of romantic experiences from Friday 12th February - Sunday 14th February 2016.

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Gravesend Reporter e-edition today E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder