World champion bobsleigher inspires disabled students in Hartlepool

Former British Bobsledder Nicola Minichiello joined youngsters from Springwell School in Throston for a range of sporting activities.
Former British Bobsledder Nicola Minichiello joined youngsters from Springwell School in Throston for a range of sporting activities.

A WORLD champion bobsleigher inspired disabled students at a Hartlepool school when she spent the day with them.

Springwell School won a visit from Nicola Minichiello who became the first British female bobsleigh driver to win a World Championships.

Nicola, 36, took part in range of sports activities with youngsters during the visit which co-incided with National School Sports Week.

Springwell School, in Throston, was awarded the visit by a professional athlete by the Youth Sport Trust for the quality and inclusiveness of its PE delivery.

Scott Mallabar, Springwell School’s PE co-ordinator, said: “It was afantastic day full of sports.

“It was an amazing opportunity for all of our children to compete in many sports with a world champion athlete.”

Pupils, aged five to 11, took part in athletics, football, bocca and multi-skills on the morning.

In the afternoon, Nicola spoke to students about her life in sport and answered lots of questions.

Scott added: “It was great for the kids to be able to say they had competed with a world champion athlete and have fun through all the different sports.”

Nicola said: “I had a really amazing day at Springwell School.

“The staff and pupils were fantastic. It was a lot of fun getting to join in the activities for National Sports Week.

“I hope to come back and work with everyone very soon.”

Now retired, Nicola competed in three Winter Olympics.

She won two medals in the two-woman event at the Federation International Bobsleigh Team World Championships winning silver in 2005 and making history with gold in 2009.

Nicola, who lives in Middlesbrough, has also comnpeted in shot, javelin and heptathlon and also worked as a coach.

In 2012, Nicola became the head of performance for the Netherlands Olympic Bobsleigh team, becoming the first woman to head a Winter Olympic sports organisation.