Athletics club back on track following a bleak few years

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After a period of disharmony threatened to close down the organisation, Diss and District Athletics Club is now looking onwards and upwards, writes Liam Apicella.

Once a thriving athletics hub for the community, internal issues forced away a number of members and volunteers — sending the club spiralling into the doldrums for a five-year period.

However, thanks to the work of coaching co-ordinator Gordon Coe and his team of coaches over the last three-and-a-half years, the Shelfanger Road-based group has been rebuilt.

Coe — a keen shot putter — joined the club aged 11 and when matters took a turn for the worse, he decided to take on his Level 1 and Level 2 Athletics Coaching badges to help keep the club functioning.

Now 25, Coe is seeing the rewards of his efforts, though he admits that certain periods throughout the process have been bleak.

“When I joined 14 years ago there was six or seven coaches and lots of parents to help out. It was a fantastic place to be,” he said.

“But things turned sour and we lost a lot of people.

“I wanted to get my coaching badges to help try and keep people interested and involved, but it was hard. There was one year were it was solid stress for 12 months.

“Thankfully that has changed now and we have slowly been able to take in more members and coaches.

“Athletics was my first love and this club has given me a lot.

“They sent me to the Nationals and paid for my licences — this is my way of paying them back.”

While the club is back on the right track, Coe is still looking to make further improvements in the coming months and years.

He is hoping to bolster the number of athletes, particularly at Under-15 Boys level, which is currently non-existent.

The club is also on the look out for senior athletes and providing the numbers swell, the plan is to enter more leagues — currently DDAC compete only in the East Anglian League.

Anyone interested in joining should visit http://www.dissanddistrictathleticsclub.co.uk for more details.