9th August, 2018
Great Britain Discus thrower, James Tomlinson, officially opened the newly refurbished throwing cage at his local athletics club on Tuesday evening. Pembrokeshire Harrier James, who hails from Pembroke Dock, was excited to unveil the new throws cage at Sir Thomas Picton School, Haverfordwest on a special day for the British Junior Champion.
James commented “The opening of a new throwing cage in Pembrokeshire is brilliant – it means I can train in my home county for the first time in a long time. I started my throwing career at Pembrokeshire Harriers, and to have the opportunity to come back here as a lot better thrower, and train regularly is really exciting”.
Over the past three years, James has faced a 3-hour round trip to Swansea University’s Athletics Stadium on a weekly basis to be able to train and practice his Discus throwing. The opening of a new throwing cage in Pembrokeshire now provides him with the opportunity to train closer to home on a more frequent basis. “I’ll still be covering some miles to train in Swansea because it’s become part of my regime over the past few years, but I can get so much more done here in Pembrokeshire; which is that extra bit that could make all the difference building up to the European u23 Championships next year”, said the British Junior Champion.
James was also quick to point out the positive impact that a new throwing cage could have on the development of up and coming Pembrokeshire Harriers athletes. He commented “I started my throwing career on the Astro Turf pitch, so if Pembrokeshire’s young athletes are able to start their athletics careers by using a new throwing cage, then that can only be a good thing”.
The launch of a new throwing cage at Pembrokeshire Harriers comes is a result of Pembrokeshire County Council’s decision to prioritise athletics and make it their focus sport within the county in 2018. Recognising the growth in interest and participation in athletics throughout the county, the council have contributed towards the establishment of a new local athletics partnership, and the emergence of a new strategy to deliver more coordinated and focused county-wide development of one of the fastest growing sports in the UK.
The new partnership is a joint approach involving key stakeholders including clubs, schools, the county council and the governing body, Welsh Athletics, and it has already resulted in the refurbishment of the throws cage at Pembrokeshire Harriers and Sir Thomas Picton School.
“When the partnership first came together, it immediately identified some gaps in the provision of athletics locally. One of these was the lack of a fully operational and competition standard throws facility so they immediately worked together to address this issue”, said a Welsh Athletics spokesperson. "When you consider that Pembrokeshire as a county produces world class athletes such as current GB Discus thrower James Tomlinson, the provision of athletics facilities like this in the community are vital to the continued success of the sport".
The newly refurbished cage opened officially last Tuesday evening (7th August) by James now allows him to train locally and provides an opportunity for developing youngsters in the county to follow in his footsteps.