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English Schools shot-put medal comes early for Alex Munn

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: July 11, 2013

BRONZE MEDALLIST: Alex Munn, of Braunton Academy.

BRONZE MEDALLIST: Alex Munn, of Braunton Academy.

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IN only his fourth major shot-put competition, Alex Munn has won a medal on the national stage.

The Braunton Academy pupil continued his rise to prominence by earning bronze in the English Schools Athletics Championships in Birmingham.

Representing Devon at the Alexander Stadium, he threw 14.24m to claim third in the intermediate boys' category.

The 16-year-old has improved dramatically since he first tried the sport in 2011.

"Two years ago I didn't even get past North Devon Schools," he said. "I think I came sixth.

"Last year was my first proper year and I went to the Devons and this year I went all the way.

"It was really enjoyable. It was a great atmosphere being part of the best of England. The standard was really high."

Alex only specialised in shot put this year after developing his power in weightlifting.

His PE teacher, Steve Rogers, put him in touch with Colin Petty for weight-training tuition as part of his studies.

"For my PE GCSE I needed four sports," said Alex. "I'm not really good at sports. We were looking at the curriculum and we found you can do weightlifting."

Colin is the throws coach for North Devon AC and has helped Alex hone his shot-put technique.

Having won the Devon Schools Championships last year, he retained the title in June and went on to win the South West title.

A lack of experience did not count against him in his first national meeting.

"Looking at the other people, the list of competitions they have entered is endless," said Alex.

"These people in the top ten have done hundreds of competitions, so they are more experienced.

"I have got an advantage in a way because they have never met me before and they are not too sure what I'm going to be like.

"I was pretty nervous but we have worked out a way I can use those nerves to help me get further.

"It worked for the South Wests and it worked again."

In sweltering heat Alex was in sixth place after a first throw of 13.70m. His second attempt of 14.24m was enough to keep him in the podium positions.

Archie Leeming, of Essex, won gold with a throw of 14.58m and Thomas Gercs, of Northamptonshire, claimed silver with 14.29m.

With a personal best of 14.60m, Alex is ranked tenth for his age-group in the country.

"I'm still learning new things all the time," he said.

"Last year I was averaging about 11 metres. This year I am averaging 13.90 to 14 metres. Over time I have got a bit stronger.

"The coaching from Colin has really helped me. Without his help I doubt I would have got past the Devon Schools.

"I have got plenty of time and with Colin's help I can get even better."

Alex recently completed his GCSEs at Braunton. As a keen guitar player he is hoping to start a music diploma at Petroc in September.

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