Why award-winner James is at the ready to help others

TEENAGER James Viner has spoken of his surprise at his success in the 2021 England Athletics Regional Volunteer Awards.

Training partners: James Viner and Toby Conibear

The 17-year-old member of Yate & District AC was named the South West Young Volunteer of the Year in an on-line ceremony last week and will now be considered for the national competition.

“I knew I had been nominated and it was a bit of a surprise when I heard I had won,” said Viner.

“I didn’t volunteer to help at the club to win awards but more to help young people of a similar age to me to enjoy athletics like I do.

“It is really satisfying to see people get something out of the sport.”

At this point it is worth remembering that Viner is an active, ambitious athlete in his own right. He finished fifth in the English Schools’ Championships, won a bronze at the South West Inter-Counties Championships and was runner-up in the Wiltshire Championships.

He will end 2021 seventh in the UK Rankings for under 20 men – fourth best in the South West – and threw PBs in the hammer (59.61m), discus (27.92m) and shot (10.81m).

For most youngsters just chasing their own dreams would fill up their time – not to mention studying for A levels – but Viner is clearly cut from different cloth as he spends so much of his free time helping out at the club.

“I help to coach in the Academy for kids aged 6-11 and I also do some officiating and help out in the kitchen and bar as well. I like to keep myself busy!” added Viner.