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Mark's a golden wonder

PUBLISHED: 10:51 27 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:05 01 August 2010

Bungay Middle School pupil Mark Philipson followed in the footsteps of Beijing Olympian Kelly Sotherton on Sunday as he claimed gold at the national Sportshall finals in Birmingham.

Bungay Middle School pupil Mark Philipson followed in the footsteps of Beijing Olympian Kelly Sotherton on Sunday as he claimed gold at the national Sportshall finals in Birmingham.

The 13-year-old sprinter, who was representing Norfolk, topped the podium in the vertical jump but couldn't repeat that form on the way to 12th in the four-lap race during the flagship junior athletics development event of the year at the LG Arena.

Philipson's name will now be added to the history books alongside Commonwealth heptathlon champion Kelly Sotherton, who herself tasted Sportshall success in 1992.

And the Great Yarmouth Athletics Club star, who qualified for the finals after claiming gold in the East Regionals, hopes his success in the Midlands can help him fulfil his Olympic dream in the years to come.

“I knew I had a good chance of winning but to actually come here and fulfil it is really pleasing,” said Philipson. “I only got into athletics a year ago after my mum and dad took me to a club after I did well at sprinting at school.

“And I haven't looked back and have done well to get to where I am now. I want to carry on and maybe one day get to the Olympics.

“My coach is always there for me, and my parents as well, and they have both been great support.”

Sotherton was in attendance to watch Philipson's heroics at the annual event in Birmingham, which aims to enable youngsters to experience competitive athletics in a fun and flexible environment.

And the 2004 Olympic bronze medallist believes the Norwich-born youngster's involvement in Birmingham will be crucial in his bid to pull on a GB vest in the years to come.

“It's a massive platform for athletes to go on and there are a lot of athletes who have come through this and gone on to bigger and better things,” said Sotherton.

“I won it in my last year when I was 15 - and that same year I started my international career so it's a great platform for kids to participate in. It helped me go on to the next level and I'm sure a lot of the people here today will do the same in the next few years.

“It's a fantastic stepping stone for people to go on and get themselves England vests and Great Britain vests and these are the guys who will be doing that in the future.”

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