Olympic and Paralympic heroes promote School Sport Week in Glasgow
THREE-TIME Paralympic gold medallist Simon Jackson and Olympic Silver Medallist Craig MacLean were the stars of the show in Glasgow on day three of Bank of Scotland’s National School Sport Week.
All eyes were on the Scotstoun Leisure Centre for the event, which centred on a Paralympic Pathway Festival designed to both unearth a potential future Paralympian, while also introducing disabled youngsters to new sports.
School children were encouraged to try their hand at events ranging from judo to football as part of the Bank of Scotland scheme that will see over 700 schools across the country involved during the week.
And the prowess of the kids on show did not go unnoticed by some local Bank of Scotland employees who were among the guests on the day.
Jim Kerr, a Client Service Assistant in Private Banking Glasgow, said: “It was such an inspiring day seeing all the kids getting involved. I’ll definitely be going back to tell people in the office about what I have seen because it has been a great day.”
And his thoughts were echoed by the local branch manager to the event, Marc Weldon, the Scotstoun manager.
He said: “It’s amazing to see all the different kids playing and it certainly puts things in perspective. Since I have been here the branch has really been out of my mind.”
Bank of Scotland National School Sport Week runs from 7-11 June with the 13 schools from the Glasgow area given the chance to rub shoulders with MacLean and Jackson on Wednesday.
And Fraser Penman, a pupil from Uddingston Grammar School, was left delighted with his opportunity to pick the brains of a Paralympic champion.
“It was great to speak to Simon,” said 15-year-old Penman. “He gave me the address to his website because I was interested in maybe trying to get involved with judo.”
And while Penman was the only representative from his school on the day, he was not the only Uddingston Grammar face with former pupil Michael Kerr, now a GB wheelchair rugby player and a Bank of Scotland Local Hero, also attending.
“It’s fantastic for the kids to be down and trying new things,” said Kerr.
The Paralympic Pathway Festival was overseen by a combination of Bank of Scotland employees as well as Scottish Disability Sport and Glasgow Active Schools representatives.
And despite enduring a hectic day at Scotstoun both Becky Bisland, West Regional Manager for Scottish Disability Sport, and Kat Toal, Active Schools Coordinator (ASL) for Glasgow insisted the event had been a success.
“It went really, really well and everyone enjoyed the activities,” said Toal.
“It was important for us to show the kids that there are avenues and clubs that they can play the sports that they had tried out at and I think it worked well,” echoed Bisland.
And what better man to sum up the Paralympic-themed third day of Bank of Scotland’s National School Sport Week than three-time gold medallist Jackson – now bidding to be part of the London 2012 Games as a cyclist.
He said: “I think what is great about these events is that it gets lots of people involved and introduced to new sports. Not just to try and uncover some talented players but also to get kids involved in sport to play at a local level and just enjoy it."
Research released by Bank of Scotland highlights that although awareness for Paralympic sports overall across children and parents are low – there is definite interest from kids to learn more about lesser known sports.
In particular boccia (31 per cent would like to know more versus three per cent awareness) and goal-ball (24.5 per cent would like to know more versus four per cent awareness).
Bank of Scotland National School Sport Week takes place from 7-11 June 2010. To find out more visit www.schoolsportweekscotland.org
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