Paralympic hopes are hit by work at stadium

By David Lawrence Friday 01 August 2014 Updated: 01/08 09:15

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Buy photos » Leanna Horne will be unable to train because of work being done at the Abbey Stadium. Picture by Marcus Mingins 3014029MMR

A PROMISING disabled Redditch athlete could have her Paralympic hopes dashed by a council decision that has halted her training.

And Leanna Horne said the move - midway through the season - could not have come at a worse time.

The former u15 and u17 national champion, who suffers from cerebral palsy and competes in the seated shot, had to cut short a recent training session at the town’s Abbey Stadium because workmen began applying grass-killing chemicals to the area behind the cage where she was throwing.

She has now been told the area will be off limits again from the autumn.

The former West Midlands Sportswoman of the Year, who is looking for a sponsor to help her fulfil her Olympic dream, joined Redditch and Bromsgrove Athletic Club in March last year.

She said: “Due to the high demand for facilities on club nights (Tuesdays and Thursdays) I train whenever the cage is available at different times of the week with my training partner Alison Keylock.

“In January I was formally classified by British and UK Athletics and began training and competing in seated discus and seated club throw, alongside seated shot. I am currently ranked sixth in the UK for seated club throw and, by maintaining my training, I see myself as a strong contender for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.”

After cutting her recent training session short, Miss Horne was then told by a leading Redditch and Bromsgrove AC coach the field would be out of bounds indefinitely from September.

“It is not just me this suspension affects, it is all the throwers within the club,” she added.

“None of us can afford to stop training and especially not mid-season and why should we when we have paid to have use of facilities as Redditch and Bromsgrove AC members?”

A spokeswoman for Redditch Borough Council, which manages the Abbey Stadium, confirmed the area would be out of bounds later this year.

“The cage will continue to be available for the peak summer period,” she said.

“However, it will be unavailable from September due to the centre pitch being extensively renovated to improve the standards of provision for local football teams.

“We are meeting again with the throwing section of the club to discuss alternative options for the athletes that train in the winter period, such as signposting their athletes to use the Ryland Centre in Bromsgrove.

“We are looking to review the works throughout the winter and are hoping that the pitch is once again in use from February 2015 at the latest.

“Once the pitch is back in use the throwing facilities can also be used again.”

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