Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson joins Penarth, Dinas, Sully and Llandough youngsters at launch of Olympic extravaganza!
7:50am Thursday 17th May 2012 in News
PRIMARY school pupils from Penarth, Dinas Powys, Llandough and Sully are set for an Olympic extravaganza – as a six-week project aiming to inspire thousands of local youngsters gets under way!
Over the coming weeks, 11 local primary schools will be competing in a range of sports, with nine different schools taking it in turns to host events.
And the Olympic spirit was fired up late last week with an opening ceremony and Paralympic sports day at Evenlode Primary, with former Penarth schoolgirl Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson as guest of honour!
The day of events gave children an insight into disability sports such as boccia, wheelchair rugby, goalball and blind partner races, and Victoria, Albert, Sully, Fairfield, Cogan, Llandough, Ysgol Pen y Garth, St Joseph’s, Murch Junior, St Andrews, and Ysgol Erw’r Delyn special school all took part in the ceremony.
In weeks to come the other schools will be hosting events such as basketball, athletics, football, table tennis and modern pentathlon, and the project will culminate in a closing ceremony to be hosted by Albert Primary at Cogan Leisure Centre on June 29.
As well as Paralympic sports, Evenlode also staged a colourful opening ceremony, which showcased the talents of their pupils - including future Olympic hopefuls Josh Cook (gymnastics) and brothers Rhys Lewis (sailing) and Alex Lewis (tennis) - and featured a parade, singing, dancing and children joining together to form the famous Olympic rings.
Baroness Grey-Thompson enjoyed watching the ceremony and the children were thrilled when the sporting hero - Britain’s most successful Paralympian - joined them for a game of wheelchair rugby.
Speaking at the event, she praised the effort made by all the schools involved.
"I visit a lot of schools, but today has been unbelievable," she said.
"These children will remember this for the rest of their lives. They know more about the games than most adults, and for them to learn all this is amazing."
Baroness Grey-Thompson, whose two nephews attend Evenlode, also held a question and answer session with youngsters.
"Children always ask the most difficult questions!" she said.
"None of these guys will remember me competing, but I have tried to tell them about how hard they need to work and what they need to do to be successful.
"At the age of about seven or eight I used to take part in as many different sports as possible. It gave me lots of confidence and I definitely recommend that children should try as many sports as they can."
Since retiring from competition, Baroness Grey-Thompson has been part of the team working on the London 2012 Games.
"They are going to be the best games yet!" she said.
"Hopefully it will inspire all of the youngsters to do something different." Evenlode headteacher Steve Rees said: "Eleven schools have been working very hard to bring this all together, and we are making the most of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for teaching and learning all about the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
"All of the children will get the opportunity to compete against each other in a friendly, inclusive competition and make new friends along the way.
"To have someone like Tanni Grey-Thompson come around and talk about her experiences, you could see the children’s eyes were like saucers!" he added.
"They were inspired by her."
PE teacher Emma Thomas, who organised the ceremony, said: "The day was a great success, and all the schools really enjoyed it.
"Organising it was a lot of hard work, but to see the children enjoying themselves and having fun, with able-bodied and non able-bodied children mixing together, was a pleasure to watch.
"The whole six-week event is a celebration of sports, and how the youngsters embraced both the Olympic and Paralympic sports was great" she added.
"I think they adapted brilliantly. They were all getting together and giving it a go, and it’s great for them to see how sport can be enjoyed by all."