Sky’s the limit for rising star

Award winning Emma Cassell.
Award winning Emma Cassell.
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A SUPER swimming schoolgirl will attend a glittering awards ceremony in London after scooping a regional sports award.

Emma Cassell, 12, has been named as Sky Sports Living for Sport Student of the Year 2011 for the North-East.

She was selected after her school took part in the national initiative. Judges were impressed with how she had excelled in swimming and showed how dedicated she is to succeed.

Emma was also treated to a visit from athlete mentor and double Commonwealth champion swimmer Chris Cook.

And now the youngster, a pupil at Manor College of Technology, Hartlepool, is in the running with 11 others from across the country to pick up the overall award at a presentation ceremony at Wembley Stadium on January 19 next year.

It will be hosted by Darren Campbell, the Olympic gold medal winning sprinter and Sky Sports Living for Sport Ambassador.

Emma’s PE teacher, Susan Wilson, said: “This project has really brought the best out of Emma.

“Although she was already incredibly talented, the initiative has shown her the importance of hard work and dedication and has motivated her to continue to train and develop her skills. She is a star of the future.”

A Sky Sports spokeswoman said: “Emma stood out as a clear winner because her story clearly demonstrated how motivating sport can be to young people and how it can lead to increased attainment and achievement in all areas of life.

“With help from Sky Sports Living for Sport, Manor set up a Gifted and Talented project to set aside time for students who have a special talent for PE. This enabled the school to offer dedicated coaches and sport sessions giving the students a mixture of academic and personal challenges as well as teaching them the importance of commitment and hard work in achieving their full potential. Emma excelled in swimming.”

Campbell, Olympic 200m silver medalist in the 2000 Sydney Games and a member of the gold medal winning 100m relay team at the Athens Games in 2004, said: “I know how influential sport can be on the development of young people. This award demonstrates how Emma is equipping herself with life skills that will help her succeed.”

As a regional winner, Emma will receive a £50 adidas voucher, £500 towards Manor’s next Sky Sports Living for Sport project, the chance to be interviewed by a Sky Sports film crew and an additional visit from an athlete mentor.

The Mail reported in August how Emma won first place in the 11 to 12-year-old category in the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) World School Biathlon Championship 2010. She had to swim 100m and run 1,000m.

Emma’s mum Susan, 40, of Owton Manor, Hartlepool, said her daughter swims every day except Saturdays and also goes out running.

The Jobcentre Plus worker, is married to Les, and is also mum to Adam, 14, and Liam, nine, described her as a “future Olympian”.

Sky Sports Living for Sport, delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, is a free secondary schools initiative that uses sport stars and sport skills to improve the lives of thousands of young people.