FOUR Hyndburn athletes are going for gold this weekend at the National Indoor Championships at Birmingham.

The event is for the Under 17s and Under 20s with the quartet in with a real chance of medal success if they come up with the goods.

The main pressure is on Accrington middle distance athlete Leigh Lennon who will compete in the 800m.

She is ranked No 2 in the country at the distance and aims to go one better than her previous appearances at the national event.

"There is probably more pressure this year," said coach and dad Don Lennon. "Leigh has won a bronze medal at the Under 15 level at these championships, silver at Under 17 event and now she is at Under 20 level and is expected to do well.

"She isn’t running for a time. It is all about medals and I am sure she will be over the moon as long as she picks up one."

Leigh, who is learning beauty therapy at Accrington and Rossendale College, is one of four girls competing against each other who have been selected for "On Camp with Kelly" - to attend double Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes’ prestigious training camp in April.

She has also been getting expert tuition from middle distance Common-wealth Games medallist Diane Modahl who will watch Leigh for the first time at Birmingham.

"I guess that adds to the pressure for Leigh and it will be a good indicator of how she copes with it," said Don.

"We have advice from Diane over the phone when she was in Norway but now she has moved back over here.

"We haven’t spoke about the race all week but hopefully, come Sunday, Leigh will have a heat in the afternoon and the final in the evening and she can win a medal."

Ashleigh Williams, who is at St Mary’s College in Blackburn, is competing in the Under 20s 400m.

Her personal best is 58 seconds and she is ranked 23rd in the country but coach Don is hoping she can reach the final.

She will have heats and a semi-final tomorrow with the final on Sunday.

And Joe Basquill and Ian Yates are both hoping to race to glory in the Under 17s 800m.

Joe attends St Augustines and is the sixth fastest over 800m in the United Kingdon while Ian, who is at Norden High School, is 13th fastest. Both will run a heat and, hopefully, final on Sunday.

"I have high hopes for all of them," said Don, who coaches them at Ribble Valley Athletics Club. "It will be good if Ian, Joe and Ashleigh can all make it to their finals.

"It will be close for Joe and Ian as the top 12 in the country are only separated by a second over 800m so it is open to all of them."

Robbie Schofield, another hot middle distance prospect for 2012 Oympics, is currently out with a hip injury.

"We have a good group of runners from Hyndburn and this year is a massive year for them," said Don.


* RIBBLE Valley AC is hoping to get its club mark accreditation in April and, if successful, it will be one of the few clubs in Lancashire to have it.
* ACCRINGTON’S Sam Yates and Joseph Mason-Baxter were part of Ribble Valley’s Under 15s boys team crowned Lancashire Sports Hall Athletics Champions in Blackpool.

Luke Kimberley, Aiden Harling, Elliot Bailey, William Capstick and Jack Vickery also took part in the event where their points were counted over a range of athletic events.

For the Under 11 girls, Leigh’s sister Lucy Lennon broke a six year record for speed bounce. This involved jumping over a bar and she did 60 jumps in 20 seconds.