Regional baton twirling bonanza attracts the crowds
- Credit: Archant
Dancing, twirling and plenty of poise was on display as judges were put in a spin at a popular regional contest.
More than 100 young athletes from across Norfolk, Suffolk and Northampton travelled to Lowestoft as the British Baton Twirling Sports Association (BBTSA) area championships were successfully held.
The popular phenomenon that is baton twirling attracted more than 300 people to the Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft on Saturday for the all-day area competition, which acts as a qualifying round for the national championships.
With friends and family among the spectators, there were lots of cheers and applause as the athletes all competed with the aim of securing a place at the national championships, which take place over the Easter weekend in Crawley.
There was also the chance to impress the judges ahead of potential selection for England. Speaking on behalf of Region 15 of the BBTSA, Kerri White, said: 'It is a really important event. We have about 100 local athletes taking part, including two boys, with a wide range of ages participating.'
The athletes ranged from four-year-old 'Tiny Tots' to international senior and adult competitors.
Kerri White added: 'We are always keen to spread the word about our amazing but relatively unknown sport as we continue to be one of the largest region's for twirling in the UK.
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'The area is well represented within the national championships every year.'
With 10 clubs from across East Anglia represented, there were athletes from four Norwich-based clubs, two clubs from Dereham, Top Hat from Northampton, Bury Starlets, Downham Markettes and the Cliffside Royalettes – who are based in Gorleston, but feature youngsters from Lowestoft, Hopton and Great Yarmouth – all in action as they competed in eight different disciplines.
Trophies, medals and certificates were presented at the end of a successful day, with athletes also discovering if they had qualified for the national championships.
The Cliffside Royalettes train at Cliff Park High School every Tuesday. Sue McWilliam – who is the club leader, but also regional chairman – said: 'We are the last region in the country to have our championships, and as we are one of the biggest regions there are a number of places to be filled for the nationals. As a club we have high hopes for today.'