Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Local teenager makes international debut

Posted on Saturday 22nd December 2018 at 6:32 pm by Laura Mortimore

Photo of Joseph Budd standing on a terrace in a football stadium.

Stoke Gifford resident Joseph Budd recently made his debut for the Welsh U17 football team at an international tournament in Portugal.

Joe, who is 16 and attends Abbeywood Community School, started playing football when he was just five years old. He used to attend ‘soccer camps’ during the summer holidays and joined the Stoke Lane U7 team when he was six. As he got older and his skills developed, his coach Steve Moore took him to Bristol Rovers for a trial and he signed his first youth contract with them when he was nine.

Explaining what he loves so much about football, Joe said:

“Football keeps me fit. I enjoy training and the challenge that comes with trying to play such a physical and demanding sport. I always enjoy the challenge of testing myself against different opponents that you come up against each week and I’m always striving to get better.”

Since signing his first youth contract, Joe has gone from strength to strength and in the summer of 2018 he was called up to play for Wales U17s in the Telki Cup in Hungary. The tournament took place in September and, whilst there, he played against Croatia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Describing the experience, Joe said:

“Hungary was a fantastic experience. Although I was nervous, I was lucky that the captain was a good friend with whom I played at Rovers, and all the boys and coaches made me feel very welcome. I was still only 15 during that trip, but I qualified to play because of my year of birth. I was really happy that I made two substitute appearances and started the second game.”

As soon as Joe returned from Hungary, he was called up by Wales to attend a training camp in Newport and it was here that he was told that he had been put on the reserve list to play in the UEFA qualifiers in Portugal in October. Joe then had an agonising wait to find out if he would be going to Portugal but when the Welsh U17s coach, Rob Edwards, watched him score two goals whilst playing for Bristol Rovers U16s, he received the call saying he would be joining the rest of the squad. Joe was in Portugal for a week where he made two second-half substitute appearances and started the third game against Portugal. Joe said:

“I was so proud to start my first competitive international game, especially as my mum, dad, gran, nan and both grandads had flown out to watch me.”

More: Scholarship offer from Bristol Rovers FC »

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Abbeywood student becomes kickboxing world champion

Posted on Friday 23rd November 2018 at 6:52 pm by Laura Mortimore

Photo of Liam Holden with trophy and medal.

Abbeywood Community School student Liam Holden has recently been crowned junior kickboxing world champion at a tough competition which was held in Venice, Italy.

Liam, who has been kickboxing since he was 6 years old, is now 13 and competes in about ten tournaments a year, both here and abroad. The world championships that took place in Venice between 16th and 23rd September saw over 1,000 competitors from 64 countries battling it out to be named world champion. With the temperature in Italy being a toasty 26 degrees and the arena not being air conditioned, it was tough conditions for Liam to fight in, however, having trained in similar conditions, he was well prepared for the tournament.

Liam won his fights every day of the competition, beating opponents from Hungary, Argentina, Slovenia and Russia. On Saturday 22nd September he faced a player from Ireland in the final. His opponent was tough, but Liam was in control from the beginning and maintained good scoring all the way through the fight. After a week of fights, Liam was crowned Junior kickboxing World Champion. His mum Kelly, who was there supporting him during the tournament, said

“I don’t think I could ever explain the emotions I felt when Liam stepped out to fight in his final, and when they lifted his arm as the winner, it was one of the proudest moments of my life! I was so pleased for him, he works and trains so hard and gave up his whole summer to train every day.”

Liam can’t quite believe his success, saying:

“It still hasn’t really sunk in that I am world champion; it was just the best feeling to stand on top of the podium hearing the national anthem being played!”

More: Further success for Liam in the Bristol Open »

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Celebrations mark 200th junior parkrun in Little Stoke Park

Posted on Thursday 15th November 2018 at 10:31 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of participants gathered at the start of the 200th junior parkrun event.

Anyone walking their dog or taking an early morning stroll through Little Stoke Park shortly after 9am on Sunday 7th October may have been surprised to see scores of children dressed as cartoon characters running enthusiastically around the perimeter of the park. It’s not exactly the usual time of day to host a birthday party, but this wasn’t a child’s party, rather, it was a special celebration to mark Little Stoke Junior Parkrun’s 200th event.

Although the venue’s main weekly 5km parkrun event folded in 2016 after the parish council withdrew permission for free use of the park (amid widespread criticism from the running community both locally and nationally), a 2km junior parkrun continues to be staged at 9am every Sunday, attracting an average of 60 youngsters in the 4 to 14 year-old age range.

Photo of a cake produced to mark the 200th junior parkrun event.

Children taking part in the milestone event were given the option of completing it in fancy dress and were treated to a specially prepared 200th birthday cake baked by one of the volunteer organisers.

Junior parkrun is open to all and taking part is very straightforward: having signed up for free on the parkrun website and printed their personal barcode, runners turn up at Little Stoke Park shortly before 9am on Sunday, listen to the run briefing, take part in a short, fun warm-up routine, run a lap and a bit of the park, then have their barcode and finish token scanned so that the results can be processed and published later.

There are those who come to achieve a new personal best or a new milestone (and have a free wristband awarded for running the equivalent of a half, full or ultra-marathon). Then there are those who love coming for social reasons – new friendships are formed and kids run together, play in the park and spend more time with one another outside of the Sunday run.

One participant, Ruby, aged 11, said: “I like going to junior parkrun because it’s fun and it keeps you fit and healthy.” So far, she has taken part in 45 junior and 11 standard parkruns and volunteered on eight occasions.

More: Parkrun is inclusive – no matter what your background or abilities »

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Energy firm helps boost Stoke Lane Lions

Posted on Sunday 11th March 2018 at 1:24 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Stoke Lane Lions U13s wearing their sponsored kit.

Stoke Lane Lions are dressed to impress after winning a full team kit through E.ON’s Power Kicks competition. The Little Stoke-based football team of under-13-year-olds are now proudly wearing their new team kit for their matches played in Division Two of the Avon Youth League.

Jayne Coward-Worrall, whose son Billy plays for the team, entered the competition on behalf of the boys. Jayne’s husband Steve started the team up and is now its FA licensed coach, while Jayne acts as the team’s treasurer.

Jayne said:

“Stoke Lane Lions is a friendly club, as well as being recognised as FA Charter Standard. We put the emphasis on developing the football and social skills of the players, in a fun, supportive and nurturing environment. Our aim is to encourage these youngsters’ passion for the beautiful game without the pressure of a must-win culture.”

“The Lions are having a decent season, playing well together as a team and enjoying their matches. They’ve progressed from the Hanham Minor League to play in Division Two of the Avon Youth League and reached the semi-final of the league cup. With their new kits now, they’re excited about the rest of the season.”

Michael Lewis, chief executive of E.ON, said:

“I hope this new kit brings Stoke Lane Lions luck in their remaining matches this season!”

“We love running initiatives like this because just as we’re helping our customers in the way they need it most – helping them to only use the energy they need, when they need it, we try to work in a similar way in our communities, providing the support to local groups that they tell us they need.”

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