National chance for Akers in Manchester

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Isaac Akers will chase high-profile success at the upcoming Sainsbury’s 2015 School Games in Manchester this week, when he competes in this prestigious multi-sport event for school-age athletes.

The youngster from Market Harborough who runs for Corby AC will be one of the 1,600 athletes taking part in this year’s Games.

The 16-year-old from Robert Smyth Academy will represent the Midlands in athletics.

In total, 12 sports, seven of which include disability disciplines, will be contested at the four-day spectacular which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.

Akers will be following in the footsteps of some of Britain’s biggest sporting stars including Paralympic champions Hannah Cockroft, Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock, world-record breaking swimmer Adam Peaty, heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, World Junior Champion heptathlete and high jumper Morgan Lake and sprinter Adam Gemili, who all competed at the School Games before going on to elite success with Team GB and ParalympicsGB.

At the event, he will experience the excitement of competing at the highest level, will live within the Athletes’ Village, attend show-stopping opening and closing ceremonies and perform in front of a crowd of thousands at world-class sports facilities in Manchester.

He said: ”I am very happy to have been selected for the Sainsbury’s School Games and I’m proud to be representing the England Midlands Team.

“I am looking forward to competing and watching all of the other sporting events that take place at the Games.”

The chance comes after he picked up his second national title of the year last weekend.

He took the 3000m at the England Athletics U15/U17 Championships held at Bedford International Stadium.

He followed the pace set by Stroud’s Tom Mortimer who led the large field of 24 runners for most of the race.

Akers, who was seventh in the corresponding race last year, made his bid for glory with 700m remaining when he hit the front but his effort failed to split the leading pack and a lap later Mortimer regained the lead taking Edinburgh’s Joe Arthur with him and leaving the Corby runner 10 metres adrift going into the final bend.

But Akers kept his calm, first overtaking the gallant Mortimer before setting out in the finishing straight to reduce the deficit and finally edge past the Scottish runner in the final 10 metres to take the title in 8.35.02.

This knocked over three seconds from his previous best.

After the race a jubilant Akers said: “I am really happy to follow my win at the English Schools with another national title.

“My plan was to stay in contention and finish hard over the final 800m but it didn’t quite work out that way and I found myself 10 metres down going into the final 200m but was really pleased with my effort in the finishing straight.”