Westbourne Sports College pupils to be track and field helpers at Paralympics

VERY few athletes, let alone people, will get within touching distance of track legend Oscar Pistorius at this summer’s Paralympic Games in London.

The four-time gold medalist, known as Blade Runner, who also competed against able-bodied athletes at last year’s World Championships, is arguably the biggest name in disabled sport and has captured the imagination with his carbon fibre artificial limbs.

He is expected to successfully defend his 100m, 200m and 400m titles in London and could be helped along the way by year 11 pupils from Westbourne Sports College.

That is because 10 students from there have successfully landed places as track and field assistants at the Paralympics, in August.

They will be known as Field of Play Team Members as part of the Young Games Maker Scheme for London 2012.

Their responsibilities will include leading a designated athlete on to the field of play while carrying their kit box, standing in lane behind the athlete as they prepare for their event and taking the athlete’s kit box to the post-event control area.

Stuart Moore, a PE teacher at the school and Primary Team Leader for “The Young Games Maker Volunteer Programme”, said: “This will be an amazing experience for the school’s year 11 students.

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“To be able to work behind the scenes on such a big stage, with such a global audience, is a tremendous honour.

“The students are really looking forward to the Games and the Paralympic test event, which I believe will be in May.”

The pupils demonstrated their ability to work at this summer’s spectacle after qualifying to attend a workshop at the Barclays Tower in London.

Along with Mr Moore and fellow teacher, assistant leader, Mark Ismay, they took part in teamwork exercises, including splitting into two groups to make the highest Olympic Tower possible out of only newspaper.

“We were on the top floor in the Barclays Tower and once the pupils saw the Olympic Stadium and the other venues there was an incredible buzz amongst them,” added Mr Moore.

The team will attend training sessions in Orientation Training and Role-Specific Training next month and in April, and will undergo Venue Training for the track and field events, before taking part in the test event.

The pupils chosen are already actively involved in volunteering and help organise sporting events for the children at the college’s six feeder schools in the area.

Headteacher, Chris Edwards said: “Everyone at Westbourne is so proud of the students – to go through such a rigorous selection process and to be given the honour of helping international athletes as part of the biggest sporting event this country has hosted, is exceptional.

“When the events are on we will all be glued to the TV to catch a glimpse of our students.

“ I have every faith in them doing a fantastic job, because they are exceptional students.”

The Field of Play team members: Kieran Mullan, Samm Turner, Danielle Ryder, Simon Vale, Katie Walden, Chennell Clarke, Chelsea Dann, Reuben Elsom, Ella Flack,Veronique Hack.