17 year old Olympic hopeful javelin thrower Ben East has been training in Hungerford during lockdown with community support
At the end of last year’s short season (containing only four competitive events), Ben managed to achieve a throw of 73.04m, placing him 8th in the world rankings and number 1 in the UK’s Under-17s.
Since the end of the season, training has been difficult for Ben and his teammates, coming in and out of lockdowns and facilities not being available. However, he has been lucky enough to have support from Hungerford Rugby Club and Hungerford Primary School, who have each provided a space in which he could train safely.
In addition, Ben has also continued to receive support from several local sponsors – namely Hungerford Town Council, Richard Stockwell, Jon Shatford and Sporting Agenda. But he has had exceptional support from a couple of sponsors – Charlie’s Charity and Herongate.
Herongate, before restrictions, provided extraordinary support for Ben regarding personal training with Connor who was brilliant and unlimited use of their amazing facilities. Charlie’s Charity has enabled Ben to buy nearly all the javelins he will need to compete at this new Under-20 level, where he will throw the men’s Olympic-weight javelin.
He has also had significance sponsorship from Yasa Limited and support from Sightline and Nordic Sport when purchasing the javelins and other equipment. We are so grateful for everyone believing in him and supporting his endeavours.
Ben initially found it difficult to remain motivated through the lockdowns, although he continued to cycle with his dad and occasionally did sessions in our garden following plans sent from his coach, Luke Angell, from Team Kennet. However, this was extremely limited and weather-permitting.
To this end, we have recently invested some of Ben’s sponsorship money and purchased a large, weather-proof gazebo for the garden and created a home gym for him to begin training again. It includes weights and a rack with a bench, roller, rope, mats and gym ball.
Hopefully, Ben can begin to train more regularly again and return to a training regime he can enjoy. He is hoping to compete this season, although there is no indication of when this might happen. And that is hard, because there is not an event to focus on in the near future. But everyone is in the same boat and need to do the best they can.
Ben feels very supported by his local community, including the coverage he has had here on Penny Post, and is looking forward to returning to ‘proper’ training as soon as he can to continue to work towards his ultimate goal of representing his country on the world stage.
Ben acheives a stunning success at his first event of the season in 2020
The event on the 15 August took place at Lee Valley in North London under strict Covid guidelines. Ben could only be accompanied by his coach, Luke Angell, who has worked with Ben over the past 5 years at Team Kennet.
Ben threw an amazing 73.04m on his first attempt, followed by another throw over 72m.
This not only won the competition, but places Ben 5th in the current U18 world rankings and number 1 in the U17 UK rankings, as well as extending his own club record.
Ben said it was good to be throwing again in these difficult times. Hopefully, he can compete again before the season finishes in October when he will move up an age group to the U20s.
A member of Team Kennet athletics club, Ben is from Hungerford and has always shown real promise in the javelin, even setting a few records under 13. But, as an Under 15 athlete, there was a significant improvement in his ability, and he won five javelin Championships and held 7 local and national records.
In September 2018, Ben made history throwing 70.66m to not only break his own UK record for the fifth time, but also set the longest throw in the world that year for his age. There are now only a couple of throwers in the world in his age group that have ever thrown further: Ben will always be known as the first person under 15 years old in the UK to throw the javelin over 70m.
The Team Behind Ben
The team behind Ben includes his supportive parents, coach Luke Angell, Park House School PE Department and sports therapist Andy Spaak from West Berkshire Injury Clinic. “From the minute he met Ben, Andy almost made it his mission to help him become the best javelin thrower he could be,” explains Ben’s Mum Jenny. “Andy has always gone the extra mile to ensure Ben is aware of his body’s physiology and that he understands the importance of maintaining a good routine of exercise and diet – encouraging him to take ownership of his well being. He also ‘fixes’ him when necessary and provides advice and support to prevent injury. Andy has become an integral part of Ben’s athletics – and we are very grateful to have him on board.”
The Easts are also very grateful for support from YASA Ltd (who design and manufacture world leading electric motors and controllers used in powering electrical vehicles), Hungerford Town Council, Hungerford Chamber of Commerce, Charlie’s Charity, Sporting Agenda and local bookkeeper Jon Shatford.
Bens’ parents have obviously supported him financially to date, but as he competes in more national and maybe international competitions, the cost of travel and accommodation will increase alongside the ongoing cost of equipment and sport kit. This year, Ben is regularly seeing a physio to limit injuries and hopes to involve a sports nutritionist to ensure his continued growth and development.
Estimated costs for the year are as follows:
Mileage: 1800 miles (minimum)
Accommodation: £300 (approx.)
Competition entry: £35
Equipment and kit: £1800 (minimum)
Physio: £1500 (minimum) £50 per hour
Nutritionist: £80 per hour
How to Support Ben
If you would like to become part of Ben’s exciting journey and help support him with his sporting endeavours, please contact Ben’s Mum Jenny on 07759 922 038 firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Julia Hoaen & Stuart March