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6 Aug 2015

Illinois athlete goes from field day to AAU Junior Olympic Games

Illinois athlete goes from field day to AAU Junior Olympic Games

Original story posted in the Belleville News-Democrate by Teri Maddox 

Na’Zariah James was busy with school and gymnastics, so she didn’t even know she had a knack for track.

But the 10-year-old Swansea girl made an impressive showing at Belleville District 118’s spring field day, placing first among fourth-grade girls in the 100-meter dash.

Her parents decided to enter her in an Amateur Athletic Union regional track competition in June. To everyone’s surprise, she qualified for the AAU Junior Olympic Games, which will begin Wednesday in Norfolk, Va.

“I think she can win,” said father Paul James, 35, speaking by phone from Afghanistan, where he works as a network engineer for a U.S. military contractor.

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