Youngsters’ Olympic challenge

Some of the school children who took part in the sports event at Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

Some of the school children who took part in the sports event at Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

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ENERGETIC youngsters have been given a fun taste of the Olympics.

Children from seven Hartlepool primary schools spent the morning enjoying a range of athletics, volleyball and badminton sessions as part of the build-up to this summer’s major sporting event.

Hartlepool Sixth Form College, in Blakelock Road, hosted the first of two events after joining forces with Hartlepool Borough Council’s sport and physical activity team.

The first one for Year 3 and Year 4 pupils was held this week and another for Year 5 and Year 6 children is scheduled for May 9.

The aim was to celebrate the success of the Ready, Steady, Walk project, which has already been awarded the Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire programme that recognises exceptional and innovative projects inspired by the 2012 Olympic Games.

Ready, Steady, Walk is one of many projects that aim to raise awareness of the Olympics and boost enthusiasm for the Game.

Organisers say the programme proved such a success that they wanted to reward participating schools for their efforts.

Rachael Pringle, sport and physical activity officer with the council, said: “The event itself was very successful and the children enjoyed taking part in the different activities.

“It was great fun and great to be working in partnership with the college.

“The excitement is certainly building ahead of the Olympics.

“The Ready, Steady, Walk initiative has been a great success and we have been very pleased with how it has been taken on by schools.”

Youngsters also received coaching from college pupils at the event and over the course of the two events 30 students will be involved.

Wayne Park, assistant head of the PE department, said: “The college was approached to take part and we were delighted to be able to help out.

“This was a great experience for some of the students to take part in coaching sessions.”

The schools that took part were St Joseph’s, St Cuthbert’s, Stranton, St Bega’s, St Aidan’s, Ward Jackson and Rift House.

Schools taking part on May 9 include St Cuthbert’s, St Aidan’s, St Bega’s and Stranton.

Ready, Steady, Walk has seen staff encourage pupils to walk the equivalent distance between a city that has previously hosted the Olympics and Paralympics in the modern era and London.

The schools have marked out set distances on their playgrounds and fields to enable them to measure the number of miles walked by pupils, and so far they have collectively covered almost 34,000 miles.