New athletics club helps Northampton's Lily lead the way towards shot put excellence

Lily's discipline in shot put has seen her become the UK's champ for the under 15's. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.
Lily's discipline in shot put has seen her become the UK's champ for the under 15's. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

A newly formed athletics club in Northampton is speeding towards becoming one of the UK's biggest, just weeks after it was set up.

Northampton Athletic Club was established in January this year by ex-coaches, athletes and volunteers of Rugby and Northampton Athletics Club.

Lily is leading the way to fast become a successful role model for boys and girls her age.

Lily is leading the way to fast become a successful role model for boys and girls her age.

And within just eight weeks it has already gained more than 100 members and 34 coaches.

Among their talented cohort, 14-year-old Lily Carlaw is one athlete destined for success - having already claimed the UK title in under 15 girls shot put.

Lily said: "There’s a lot of stigma around shot put. You have to be a certain weight, certain size and certain gender, but once you really get into it you start to see it’s not about that.

"I do feel like there is the typical, bulky male shot-putter and really what I would like to do in the future is try to break that and bring a group of strong throwers through the ranks who are not only female but male as well."

Pictures of Lily were shot at Moulton College's athletics track where the team trains.

Pictures of Lily were shot at Moulton College's athletics track where the team trains.

Lily spends six days a week in the gym, or at the track, working on her discipline but it was never love at first sight for her and throwing.

"I tried it at first and I really didn’t like it," she said. "I started off as a sprinter and then when I got injured I came into shot put with my dad.

"Once I found my love for it I built up my training more and more.

"I got supported by loads of people and obviously the atmosphere I’m in now pushes me and drives me to where I want to be."

Northampton Athletic Club - with roots associated with the former Northampton Pheonix Athletic Club - has moved back to the town after ten years. Some of the members used to train at the Cobblers' track.

"We have a nucleus of really talented people here," coach Stuart Carlaw said. "If you add it all up we have one of the most successful small clubs in the country, already in months.

"That just says to us, from a coaches point of view, that we can develop children when they come into our club, at a very young age, with a very mixed level of ability right the way through to the top of the tree.

"That aspirational part of the club is really important for the children to train and see UK number ones and children in Team GB outfits... and that’s in little old Northampton.”

Whether you are an eight-year-old or a 68-year-old the club says it will welcome all with open arms and work hard to find every athlete’s niche.

Club co-founder Dawn Exley helped to establish the club in December 2018. She said: "It’s completely inclusive, it’s friendly and we welcome all athletes of all ages from all backgrounds.

"We want complete diversity in the club and that’s the whole ethos of what we are creating, and building.”

For information about where to train, times and how to join the club click here.