Thanet Athletics Club was launched in April 2010 and has quickly become one of the leading clubs in Kent, competing in sportshall, track and field athletics and cross-country.
The club was born out of a sportshall athletics club, startingin Birchington in April 2008, in order to give children a route into athletics with the knowledge that the new £1.4m athletics track at The Marlowe Academy would be opening later that summer.
This proved very successful, numbers increased steadily and some interested and very supportive parents started to get involved. In Autumn 2009 it was decided that the children were ready for their first taste of competitive athletics and we entered the KCAA Sportshall Winter Series. The children chose their own team name - the Thanet Baby Bolts, after Usain Bolt – and performed very well over the winter. Word spread and new people started to get involved.
At the same time, a group of independent athletics coaches were interested in what we were doing and we got together to offer a weekly track and field training night for all ages at The Marlowe Academy from July to October 2009. Again, we were encouraged by the numbers that attended and by the comments that we received from athletes and parents. It was at that time that we started to wonder “what if?”
A few of us got together over Christmas 2009 and Thanet Athletics Club started to become a reality. We brought together some excellent coaches and a support team and the rest is now history.
Thanet Athletics Club has achieved remarkable success in its first three years.
Thanet AC was the most successful club in sportshall athletics at U11, U13 and U15 level in 2011 and 2012, and at the 2012 Kent Sportshall Athletics County Championships we won 27 medals, of which 18 were gold, and the “best club” award. Numerous Thanet AC athletes have represented Kent and South East England at sportshall athletics and Diana Adegoke was national standing long jump champion in 2011 and 2012. Thanet AC took responsibility for selection and management of the Kent U11 Sportshall team in 2011 and in 2012 it jointly organised the first Kent U11 Decathlon, which was very well received and was featured on the England Athletics website.
Thanet AC’s girls won promotion to Division 1 of the Kent Young Athletes League in 2011, their first year in the competition, and the boys won promotion in 2012, which means that in 2013 both the boys and girls will compete in the top division of Kent athletics. A new partnership with Ashford AC will see the two clubs competing as a composite club, to be known as “Ashford & Thanet” in UK Athletics new national Youth Development League, for the U13, U15, U17 and U20 age groups, in 2013. Again, several athletes have represented Kent in track and field athletics and Diana Adegoke and Adam Jacques represented Kent at the English Schools Athletics Championships this year. Diana Adegoke (long jump), Maddy Johnson (high jump) and James Anderson (discus, hammer throw and shot putt) all finished the 2012 outdoor season in the top 10 nationally for their events.
Cross-country is developing fast at Thanet AC. Alasdair Kinloch won the U13 Boys Kent Cross-Country League in 2011 and represented Kent at the English Schools Cross-Country Championships in 2012. 20 club members competed in the Kent Cross-Country League in 2012 and three were selected for Kent.
Thanet AC continues to support schools athletics locally and organising several schools events during the school year, from infant QuadKids to sportshall athletics, track and field and cross-country in primary and secondary schools, to the Year 7 Super 8 competition, which is the largest of its kind in South East England outside of London. 3500 children represented their schools in competitive athletics last year, and athletics probably has a higher profile in Thanet schools than anywhere else in Kent.
Off the track, Thanet AC achieved ClubMark accreditation, which recognises best practice in club management, coaching, training, competition, safeguarding and child-protection, within 10 months of its launch and the U11 Athletics Series in Summer 2012 was featured by England Athletics as an “example of good practice”.
Thanet AC’s achievements have also been recognised by sports professionals locally, with four awards at the Thanet Sports Awards in 2011 and five in 2012 – including the prestigious Club of the Year award in both 2011 and 2012.