Open Academy school boy becomes sprint champion
2 August 2021
Calvin Smith, 16, from Sprowston in Norwich has become the English Schools 400 metre Sprint Champion and has earned his England vest.
Representing Open Academy, Norwich, part of Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT), and the county of Norfolk, Calvin won the 200m and 400m at the Norfolk Schools Championship in June at the UEA Sports Park qualifying for the English Schools Track and Field Championship in July held at the Manchester Regional Arena.
Due to only being able to compete in one event he chose to enter the 400m which is his favoured event.
He went on to win his heat with a time of 49.05s just off his 48.88s PB and then winning the final with a time of 49.43s to become English Schools intermediate boys champion.
He has now earned his England vest and will now be representing England and Open Academy at the Home Counties Schools International Athletic Board Track and Field Championship held in Derby in September.
Calvin is currently no1 in the UK under 17 boys’ rankings for the 400m and 6th in the UK in the under 17 boys’ rankings for the 200m.
Calvin’s mother, Mrs Jo Smith said: “His dad, sister and I are immensely proud of Calvin as well as the rest of his family. He has displayed dedication to his sport and spent many months in the 2020/2021 season in lockdown unable to train with his coaches or on the track at the sports park. He continued with his 3-4x a week training having to train on local parks by himself or being coached by a family friend with no access to a gym or any proper home gym equipment so having to improvise where possible.”
Calvin said: “Training wasn’t easy during lockdown not being able to train at my local athletics track. I was having to train on parks where dogs were chasing me and running off with my cones which was quite funny. I had hoped to qualify in the 400m for the under 18s European Championships which was to be held in Rieti in August but unfortunately due to Covid it was cancelled in April. I’d been training hard during lockdown for this championship and was disappointed that it had been cancelled but understood it just wasn’t possible to hold during these uncertain times.
“I then focused my training on the English Schools Championship as well as the upcoming National u15/u17 Championship which is being held next month in Manchester. Looking to the future my dream would be to qualify and compete in the 400m at the Olympics. 2024 Olympics in Paris may be too ambitious as I’ll only be 19 years old but nothing is impossible with hard work and commitment.”
In a congratulatory letter sent to Calvin, Oliver Burwood, Chief Executive Officer of Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) said: “This is a huge achievement and is one that you should be very proud of. Everybody at DNEAT (the group of schools that the Open Academy is part of, and that I lead) is also hugely proud of your achievement.
“Calvin is a dedicated individual not just to sport but his education too. He has a hugely exciting opportunity ahead and we can’t wait to hear about where his talent and effort will take him in the future. Everyone at Open and DNEAT wish him all the best for his future development and involvement in athletics.”
Mr Jon Ford, Principal of Open Academy, Norwich said: “This incredible achievement is part of Calvin’s considerable success story. He has been a model student over his time at the Academy and we are all very proud of all he has done. He really stood out at a sprint starting session for his peers during a PE lesson two years ago; it was honestly like watching a professional athlete.
“Although we are sad that he won’t be joining the Open Academy 6th form, we are immensely proud of him and hope he will enjoy his future athletics. We know he will make the most of this well-deserved opportunity.”
Calvin has just left Open Academy, Norwich, part of Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) and will be joining Norwich City college in September to study a diploma in IT.