Adepitan hopes to inspire the next generation
PARALYMPIC bronze medalist Ade Adepitan proved he still has what it takes while helping pupils at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Birmingham stage their own Games as part of Lloyds TSB's National School Sport Week.
With the clock ticking down until the start of London 2012 on July 27, the former wheelchair basketball star gave the Birmingham youngsters lessons in Paralympic sports such as sitting volleyball as well as taking part in their own opening ceremony at The Transport Stadium.
More than 300 children from Our Lady of Lourdes took part, entering the stadium bearing the flags of the 205 competing nations before experiencing first-hand some of the sports on show this summer.
Also helping out were 40 young leaders from neighbouring secondary schools - Bishop Challoner Catholic College and Wheelers Lane Technology College - as Olympic fever took over the Second City.
And Adepitan, who claimed bronze in Athens in 2004, insists the legacy that the Games will leave behind is crucial to children up and down the country.
"The whole ethos is about trying to create a legacy for kids," said Adepitan, who is a Lloyds TSB ambassador. "For people of my generation and maybe a little bit older, the memories of PE lessons are on a cold field with a crazy teacher.
"But here the kids are loving these lessons and they are really engaged with the Olympic and Paralympic values and I think they are genuinely looking forward to them.
"We've had 300 kids all getting into the Olympic spirit and then we had the opening ceremony where the kids were carrying all the different countries' flags, it was awesome and it really gave the kids a taste of what it is like.
"They had a go at a range of different sports, I tried to get stuck in as much as possible with the handball and volleyball.
"The Paralympic Games is what made me, and if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be where I am today. It opened so many doors and I've been able to do so many things.
"I remember watching the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 as an 11-year-old, the age of some of the children here.
"I realised watching that that I wanted to become an Olympian and fortunately the Paralympics became available to me. If an Olympic Games 5,000 miles away can inspire me, just think what a home Games can do."
Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week, in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, uses the excitement of the London 2012 Games to inspire young people to do more sport with four million pupils expected to take part.
Schools across the country will be ‘staging their own Games' - holding opening and closing ceremonies, Torch Relays and inter and intra-school competitions - to celebrate London 2012 in their community and Our Lady of Lourdes deputy head teacher Michael Doyle admits that children are more respondent to sport-based learning.
He said: "A lot of our focus in the school has been with the Olympics and Paralympics in mind, we've incorporated a lot of the values into lessons across the curriculum, we've even changed the house names to some of the most successful Paralympians like David Weir.
"The kids have really taken to it, they really understand the seven values of the Olympics and Paralympics.
"All the year groups have come together to participate in Olympics and Paralympics sports but not only that, we've also put on some traditional sports games such as the egg and spoon race.
"The more competitive sports like the sprints have been great, and having Ade Adepitan here helping out with the teaching has been great."
Meanwhile year six pupil Niamh Holleran had a memento to take from the day when Adepitan signed her T-shirt and she admits she can't wait for the real Games to begin.
"I've really enjoyed it, I met Ade and he was really funny," said the 11-year-old. "He helped us play volleyball and it was fun, I've only played it a few times in school before.
"We played handball as well, it's good playing all these different sports and we've learnt a lot about the Olympics in lessons so we're looking forward to it."
Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week took place from 25-29 June 2012 and is Britain's biggest school sport event with more than four million pupils staging their own Games this year. Find out more at www.schoolsportweek.org
(c) Sportsbeat 2012